‘HE DIED OF A HEART ATTACK’
North Korean rep challenges credibility of toxicology report
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
Korean embassy counsellor Kim Yu-song (right) leaving the police headquarters in Sepang yesterday.