SITI AISYAH, DOAN UN­DER HEAVY GUARD

More than 200 po­lice­men were in­volved in se­cu­rity de­tail at court

New Straits Times - - News - VEENA BABULAL AND TEOH PEI YING KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Khairah N. Karim

AS a po­lice sniper kept a watch­ful eye from the up­per floor of the Sepang court com­plex, the two women charged in con­nec­tion with the mur­der of Kim Jong-nam ar­rived yes­ter­day morn­ing un­der heavy guard.

Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah were trans­ported in sep­a­rate con­voys com­pris­ing three mo­tor­cy­cles and nine cars, each.

As the host of lo­cal and for­eign jour­nal­ists who had gath­ered out­side the court com­plex watched on, each con­voy sped along the road out­side, drove in and stopped in front of the main build­ing.

More than 200 po­lice­men from var­i­ous units, in­clud­ing the Fed­eral Re­serve Unit, Spe­cial Ac­tion Unit and the fed­eral po­lice’s Spe­cial Task Force on Or­gan­ised Crime (Stafoc) were in­volved in the se­cu­rity de­tail at the court com­plex.

At least 20 Stafoc of­fi­cers were de­ployed as part of the se­cu­rity de­tail for each woman.

Doan was the first to ar­rive, at 9.30am, fol­lowed by Siti Aisyah, less than 10 min­utes later.

As each woman alighted from their re­spec­tive ve­hi­cles, they were sur­rounded by Stafoc mem­bers and other po­lice­men and women, and led into the court build­ing.

Af­ter they were charged with the mur­der of a man who had in his pos­ses­sion a North Korean pass­port un­der the name “Kim Chol”, the women were led out of the court build­ing, one at a time. Doan was led out first and less than 10 min­utes af­ter the con­voy trans­port­ing her sped away, Siti Aisyah was brought out.

This time, how­ever, po­lice took the added mea­sure of hav­ing them wear bul­let­proof vests.

The high-pro­file case of the as­sas­si­na­tion of Jong-nam, the ex­iled half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has caught the at­ten­tion of the world. Se­cu­rity was height­ened at ev­ery lo­ca­tion as­so­ci­ated with the case, in­clud­ing the Kuala Lumpur Hos­pi­tal mor­tu­ary, where Jong­nam’s body is be­ing kept.

Yes­ter­day’s pro­ceed­ings were no dif­fer­ent as the gates to the court com­plex were closed and placed un­der armed guard. Only those with of­fi­cial busi­ness were let in.

Mem­bers of the press, of whom there were more than 200, be­gan ar­riv­ing as early as 5.30am, “camp­ing” out­side the com­pound as they waited to be al­lowed in.

The day be­fore, the me­dia had been told by fed­eral po­lice head­quar­ters they would have to reg­is­ter be­fore they would be let into the com­pound of the court com­plex. Reg­is­tra­tion, Bukit Aman said, would be­gin at 7.30am.

True to form, the reg­is­tra­tion process be­gan ex­actly at that time, but the me­dia were told due to the lim­ited space avail­able, en­try into the com­plex would be capped at one re­porter and cam­era­man per news or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Even then, only 30 re­porters from se­lected me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions would be al­lowed into the court­room.

When Siti Aisyah’s lawyer, Gooi Soon Seng, ex­ited the court­room, re­porters who were on standby in the com­pound made a bee­line for him, but po­lice­men on guard warned the press in raised voices to keep their dis­tance.

The brouhaha in the court com­plex yes­ter­day also drew a small crowd of by­standers, mostly those from nearby neigh­bour­hoods. They stood out­side the com­pound pa­tiently, watch­ing what was go­ing on and dis­cussing what they had been read­ing in the news­pa­pers and news web­sites.

Hishim Azim, 43, who was stand­ing with five of his friends across the com­plex, said it was the first high-pro­file case that had taken place there.

“I have been fol­low­ing this case... I knew they would be brought here and we wanted to know first-hand what was go­ing on.”

An­other man, who de­clined to be named, said he was send­ing his chil­dren to school when he saw a large num­ber of re­porters and cam­era­men wait­ing out­side the court.

He said, af­ter drop­ping off his chil­dren, he de­cided to stop to see what was go­ing on.

“I have not seen such hype near my house. This is also the first time po­lice are di­rect­ing traf­fic at the nearby junc­tion,” he said.

PIC BY MOHD FADLI HAMZAH

The po­lice car trans­port­ing Siti Aisyah be­ing fol­lowed by the fed­eral po­lice’s Spe­cial Task Force on Or­gan­ised Crime at the Sepang court com­plex yes­ter­day.

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