A police officer charged with investigating the murder of Kim Jong Nam identified four other suspects in the case in a Malaysian court on Thursday, on the eighth day of the trial of the two women accused of Kim’s murder.
Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz told the Shah Alam High Court that evidence provided by Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah, the two women on trial, had named the men as “Mr. Chang”, “James”, “Mr. Y” and “Hanamori”.
“‘Mr. Y’ was responsible for applying the liquid on the [Huong’s] palms and also responsible for giving [Siti] a taxi ticket,” Azirul told the prosecution, adding that Chang had applied the liquid to Siti’s hands.
The two accused are alleged to have used the VX nerve agent – an internationally banned weapon of mass destruction – to assassinate Kim Jong Nam in February.
Sunday saw Japan’s Fuji TV broadcast an extensive investigation into the crime, claiming that the two young women had used so-called “binary chemicals” which had resulted in VX gas when combined.
Government chemist Dr. Raja Subramanian told the court on Thursday that both Huong and Siti’s clothing had, at the time of the attack on Kim Jong Nam, exhibited parent components of VX.
Components of VX were also found in Huong’s fingernails, Raja said. Hisyam Teh, another member of her defense team, has argued that she had “no knowledge at all what had been applied to her hands.”
The suspect referred to as “James” was on Thursday said to have recruited Siti, while Hanamori, also known as “uncle” and “grandma” had been responsible for instructing “Mr. Y.”
Prosecutors have throughout the trial said that there are four other suspects in the case, but this is the first time they have been named. And while local outlets have reported that all four suspects are of North Korean nationality, Reuters has reported that Azirul did not specify their citizenship.
Four male North Korean suspects were named as being linked to the murder of Kim in the initial weeks after Kim’s murder – all are believed to have left Malaysia after the attack was carried out and were named as Ri Jae Nam, O Jong Gil, Hong Song Hak and Ri Ji Hyon.
They entered Malaysia between late January and the first week of February and fled the country on February 13, soon after Kim Jong Nam was ambushed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, according to police. Interpol issued a red notice on the four in March.
The four were among several North Koreans in Malaysia at the time of the murder who were wanted for questioning in connection with the crime.
As a result is unclear whether the four men named in court on Thursday are these four men, and in February, a North Korean suspect named Ri Ji U – who was also later allowed to return home – was also said to go by the pseudonym “James.”
Gooi Soon Seng, a defense counsel representing Siti Aisyah, said in April that the case had been “compromised” after the departure of the North Koreans and that Siti and Duon were “scapegoats and pawns to be used while the real culprits were (allowed) to go back.”
The defense has also drawn attention to the case of Ri Jong Chol, a North Korean who was arrested in connection with the case in February, only to be later sent home by the Malaysian government due to lack of evidence.
Police on Wednesday told the court that Kim Jong Nam was carrying USD$100,000 on his person at the time of his death, during a hearing that also saw the prosecution air CCTV footage of the moment of his attack at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The defense previously tried to have the tapes rendered inadmissible, claiming they represented hearsay and were not valid evidence.
On Tuesday the court heard that Kim had well over the lethal dosage of the VX nerve agent on his face, but that several items worn by Kim Jong Nam at the time of his death had been returned to North Korea in the immediate aftermath of his death.
Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong Un, died after his face was smeared with a liquid in an ambush at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on February 13.
Featured image: Kim Chol social media
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