Man to be released due to lack of evidence
KUALA LUMPUR: A North Korean man, held over King Jong-nam’s murder, is expected to be released today and deported.
Chemist Ri Jong-chol, 47, who was detained on Feb 18, will be freed when his remand expires as there was insufficient evidence to charge him.
“He will be released and deported as he does not have valid documents,” Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said yesterday.
Jong-chol was held after investigators discovered he had driven one of four North Korean men who were sought in the case.
The four men, Ri Ji-hyon, 33; Hong Song-hac, 34; O Jong-gil, 55 and Ri Jae-nam, have reportedly returned to Pyongyang after the victim’s death on Feb 13.
It was believed that Jong-chol was a friend of Jae-nam, the prime suspect among the four.
Jong-chol appeared to have lived in Malaysia with his wife and daughter for over three years.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said police had yet to receive any feedback from the North Korean embassy here on seven North Korean men who were named as persons of interest in the case.
The seven are Ji-hyon; Hong; Jong-gil; Jae-nam; Hyon Kwangsong, 37, the second secretary at the embassy; Kim Uk-il, 37, an Air Koryo staff and Ri Ji-u, 30, also known as James.
Khalid said the embassy had not extended the cooperation requested by police, filed to them through the Foreign Ministry.
“No, we did not get anything from the North Korean embassy,” he said.
Police said they would use all legal means to compel Ji-hyon and James, should they fail to come forward, to facilitate the investigation.
Last week, Khalid said; “If you have nothing to hide, you don’t have to be afraid.”
This after police announced they were being sought in the case. So far, none has turned up.