‘HE DIED OF A HEART AT­TACK’

North Korean rep chal­lenges cred­i­bil­ity of tox­i­col­ogy re­port

New Straits Times - - News - JUNE MOH KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

NORTH Korea in­sists that its cit­i­zen, “Kim Chol”, died of a heart at­tack and was not poi­soned.

For­mer North Korean deputy am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Ri Tong-il said the in­di­vid­ual, whom he re­ferred to as “Kim Chol”, had a his­tory of heart dis­ease.

The Health Min­istry had, af­ter an au­topsy on Kim Jong-nam, said he died af­ter VX nerve agent was swiped on his face by two fe­male suspects.

How­ever, Tong-il, who is part of a high-level North Korean del­e­ga­tion to Malaysia, re­jected the min­istry’s find­ings.

“He had treat­ment from time to time while be­ing hos­pi­talised. Un­der nor­mal con­di­tions, he can­not travel with­out heart dis­ease medicine, as well as for di­a­betes and high blood pres­sure.

“This is a strong in­di­ca­tion that the cause of death was a heart at­tack,” Tong-il said out­side the North Korean em­bassy here yes­ter­day.

He said di­a­betic and high blood pres­sure med­i­ca­tion was found among “Kim Chol’s” be­long­ings.

He ques­tioned the cred­i­bil­ity of the tox­i­col­ogy re­port, which had iden­ti­fied that VX nerve agent was used to kill the in­di­vid­ual.

“Ev­ery­one knows the na­ture of this ex­tremely toxic ma­te­rial, cat­e­gorised as a chem­i­cal weapon by the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Chem­i­cal Weapons (OPCW).”

He said claims that VX was used to kill the vic­tim were a ruse con­cocted by South Korea to di­vert the world’s at­ten­tion from its po­lit­i­cal cri­sis.

“How did South Korea know about the use of the chem­i­cal weapon from the very be­gin­ning when we didn’t? This shows they knew it was go­ing to hap­pen.

“This is some­thing that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity needs an­swered,” he said.

Tong-il went on to brush aside the claim of the use of VX by ques­tion­ing why the two fe­male suspects — Viet­namese Doan Thi Huong and In­done­sian Siti Aisyah — sur­vived af­ter han­dling the highly toxic chem­i­cal with their bare hands.

He ques­tioned why no one else at klia2, which has “tens of thou­sand of peo­ple” were af­fected, in­clud­ing doc­tors and nurses who at­tended to the vic­tim.

Tong-il said VX was well known for its high tox­i­c­ity.

“It has been cat­e­gorised as a chem­i­cal weapon and any vic­tim is doomed to die,” he said, adding that if it was true that VX was used, sam­ples should be sent to OPCW for test­ing. If proven, then they should iden­tify who made it and brought it to Malaysia to be passed on to the two fe­male suspects,” he said, adding that the del­e­ga­tion would con­tinue re­quest­ing to see the vic­tim’s body.

Mean­while, In­spec­tor-Gen­eral of Po­lice Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar dis­missed claims by North Korea that Kim Chol had prob­a­bly died of a heart at­tack.

He said Malaysian ex­perts had al­ready con­firmed that he died af­ter two women suddenly swiped his face with their hands laced with sus­pected poi­son, later con­firmed to be VX nerve agent.

“We have our ex­perts who are qual­i­fied to de­ter­mine the cause of death of Kim Chol.

“Our in­ves­ti­ga­tions and sup­ported by ex­pert re­ports con­firmed that Kim Chol was mur­dered.

“North Korea can say what they like, but the facts re­main.”

Khalid said there was no need to hand over the sam­ple of chem­i­cals used in the mur­der to OPCW

BER­NAMA PIC

North

Korean em­bassy coun­sel­lor Kim Yu-song (right) leav­ing the po­lice head­quar­ters in Sepang yes­ter­day.

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