TAT­TOOS on Kim Jong-nam will en­able in­ves­ti­ga­tors to di­rectly link him and the body ly­ing in the morgue since Feb 15. This tat­too (right), on the body of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, matches the one seen on him in a picture taken i

New Straits Times - - Front Page - FARRAH NAZ KARIM AND ALIZA SHAH KUALA LUMPUR nst­probes@ya­hoo.com

STRONG ev­i­dence, which could fi­nally put an end to the dis­pute over whether it was re­ally Kim Jong­nam who was as­sas­si­nated in klia2 on Feb 13, has sur­faced.

The ev­i­dence — tat­toos on Jong-nam’s body that match his doc­u­mented his­tory — will en­able in­ves­ti­ga­tors to draw di­rect links be­tween the es­tranged half­brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the body that has been ly­ing in the Kuala Lumpur Hos­pi­tal (HKL) morgue since Feb 15.

This crit­i­cal sec­ondary iden­ti­fy­ing ev­i­dence in­cludes a dark sin­gle-ink tat­too on his stom­ach, depict­ing a man with ori­en­tal fea­tures, reel­ing in one of two Ja­panese carps.

An­other tat­too that had been seen on Jong-nam that matches that with the body in ques­tion, is the one on his left up­per arm.

Those who know Jong-nam would be able to tell what the in­tri­cate tat­too is.

The New Straits Times’ Spe­cial Probes Team, in its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ques­tion of the body’s for­mal iden­tity, also learnt of other crit­i­cal sec­ondary iden­ti­fiers listed, which, if they could be matched to Jong-nam, would rule out claims to the con­trary.

The team, with the help of its Ja­panese con­tacts, traced these vi­tal links to a Ja­panese jour­nal­ist, who had sup­pos­edly known Jong-nam for more than 10 years and whom he had met count­less times.

Re­ports iden­ti­fied her as Mizumi Fu­jita.

It was also re­ported that it was some time in 2013 that Jong-nam, who was at a club in Ma­rina Bay Sands Ho­tel in Sin­ga­pore, sent her a pho­to­graph of him­self in the com­pany of friends. The im­age was of him with his heav­ily tat­tooed friends, pos­ing for a picture with­out their shirts on. The tat­toos vis­i­ble on Jong-nam’s stom­ach and left arm matched those on the body in HKL.

Mizumi’s em­ployer told the NST last night that they would re­vert to this news­pa­per on its re­quest for an interview with her. To a ques­tion, they said there should be no prob­lems for the au­thor­i­ties in­ves­ti­gat­ing Jong­nam’s mur­der to seek Mizumi’s as­sis­tance.

Ex­perts told the NST that in the event that Jong-nam’s next of kin failed to come for­ward to pro­vide match­ing DNA sam­ples for rea­sons that might in­clude se­cu­rity, they could opt to iden­tify Jong-nam based on spe­cific and unique mark­ings on his body. It is also for this rea­son that the NST chose to ex­er­cise dis­cre­tion in with­hold­ing in­for­ma­tion on what the other crit­i­cal sec­ondary iden­ti­fiers are, con­sid­er­ing that they have yet to be seen pub­licly.

The NST also noted for­eign re­ports’ in-depth analy­ses of a picture this news­pa­per front-paged on Feb 18, show­ing Jong-nam slumped in a seat at the klia2 clinic, where he had sought med­i­cal at­ten­tion.

Some of the re­ports ques­tioned whether it was re­ally Jong-nam in the picture, as the tat­too on his stom­ach was not vis­i­ble in the picture. The im­age showed an un­con­cious Jong-nam, in low-rise jeans, lean­ing back with the hem of his blue Polo T-shirt pulled up just above his navel.

Had his top been hiked up by an­other cen­time­tre or so, the bot­tom part of the elab­o­rate tat­too would have been slightly ex­posed. It would be the same if the left sleeve had been rolled up.

Ja­panese me­dia analysing NST’s pho­to­graph of Jong-nam also car­ried out a fa­cial recog­ni­tion anal­y­sis on it, against the 2013 pho­to­graph of Jong-nam in Sin­ga­pore.

The re­sult of the anal­y­sis on 36 fea­ture points on his face, they said, matched Jong-nam’s.

The body is now of­fi­cially iden­ti­fied as “Kim Chol”. This is based on valid travel pa­pers, in­clud­ing the diplo­matic pass­port, found on him.

Ex­perts with lo­cus standi in han­dling iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­ce­dures based on sec­ondary iden­ti­fiers told the NST that un­der the cir­cum­stances, the process would see his next of kin be­ing in­ter­viewed via video-con­fer­ence. He (or she) would then be asked spe­cific ques­tions on these iden­ti­fiers.

Ex­am­ples of the ques­tions could be: “How many tat­toos does the de­ceased have?”, “What im­age does he have on his xxx?” or “What mark is found on his xxx?”. The process would be of­fi­cially doc­u­mented.

When the next of kin an­swers these ques­tions cor­rectly, he will then be shown the de­ceased, to en­able the fi­nal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­ce­dure.

“Strongly iden­ti­fied sec­ondary iden­ti­fiers will lead to a prob­a­bil­ity that is con­sid­ered ‘al­most cer­tain’ and this is enough for the next of kin to make a pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the de­ceased,” an ex­pert with knowl­edge of the on­go­ing ef­fort to for­mally iden­tify the body told the NST.

He pointed out that there had been prece­dents in the pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the de­ceased through this process, with a re­cent case be­ing the heli­copter crash in­volv­ing the late Rompin mem­ber of par­lia­ment Tan Sri Ja­malud­din Jar­jis and five oth­ers in April 2015.

Au­thor­i­ties should have been able to count on Jong-nam’s den­tal records and of­fi­cial fin­ger­prints, apart from the DNA of his next of kin, to of­fi­cially iden­tify him.

How­ever, the NST was made to un­der­stand that in­ves­ti­ga­tors were stymied by the North Korean em­bassy’s re­fusal to re­lease records of both of these pri­mary iden­ti­fiers.

On Wed­nes­day, In­spec­tor-Gen­eral of Po­lice Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the North Korean em­bassy had not ex­tended any co­op­er­a­tion re­quested by the po­lice to fa­cil­i­tate in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the

killing of Jong-nam.

At the mo­ment, the fin­ger­prints lifted off the de­ceased would only re­turn that of Kim Chol’s.

Py­ongyang has also main­tained that the de­ceased is a North Korean known as Kim Chol.

Mean­while, foren­sic science ex­perts that the team spoke to said DNA test­ing was not the only avail­able means to iden­tity a de­ceased whose back­ground is un­cer­tain.

As­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor Dr Za­fa­rina Zain­ud­din said a match of sev­eral sec­ondary iden­ti­fiers on the de­ceased would suf­fice for the au­thor­i­ties to make a pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“In the case of Kim Jong-nam, a DNA sam­ple is not nec­es­sary as the body is recog­nis­able. He could be iden­ti­fied by his sec­ondary iden­ti­fiers such as his birth­marks, face, tat­toos, fin­ger­prints or den­tal records.”

An­other ex­pert, Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat, said DNA test­ing would be the last re­sort in iden­ti­fy­ing a de­ceased.

“Be­fore the DNA ev­i­dence is used, the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem will look at other pri­mary and sec­ondary ev­i­dence.”

Jong-nam was mur­dered on the morn­ing of Feb 13 in what has been de­scribed as an elab­o­rate and high­pro­file as­sas­si­na­tion. His as­sailants were two for­eign women who were charged with his mur­der on Wed­nes­day.

Seven other suspects, in­clud­ing those po­lice said had en­gi­neered the mur­der plot, are still at large. They in­clude the North Korean em­bassy’s sec­ond sec­re­tary.

This im­age is re­pro­duced from the ac­tual tat­too on Kim Jong-nam’s body,

which is ly­ing in the Kuala Lumpur Hos­pi­tal


Dr Geshina Ayu MatSaat

Dr Za­fa­rina Zain­ud­din

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