MORE SUS­PECTS IN­VOLVED?

IGP says po­lice are look­ing into pos­si­bil­ity of more be­ing in­volved

New Straits Times - - Front Page - FARRAH NAZ KARIM AND AL­IZA SHAH KUALA LUMPUR spe­cial­probes@nst.com.my

AN in-depth anal­y­sis of klia2's CCTV footage on the day of Kim Jong-nam's mur­der sug­gests that more in­di­vid­u­als may be in­volved in the plot. Two men cap­tured on cam­era, who may not have been iden­ti­fied as sus­pects as yet, fig­ured promi­nently in the events of that day. The in­spec­tor-gen­eral of po­lice con­firms the pos­si­bil­ity that more sus­pects may be in­volved.

AFRAME-BY-FRAME anal­y­sis of the video footage cap­tured by klia2’s closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion (CCTV) cam­eras in the min­utes be­fore and after the at­tack on Kim Jong-nam on the morn­ing of Feb 13 have un­earthed star­tling new rev­e­la­tions.

The seven wanted North Kore­ans — mas­ter­minds be­hind the as­sas­si­na­tion of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un — had tech­ni­cally “sur­rounded” their tar­get to en­sure that the mis­sion to liq­ui­date him was fol­lowed through.

This damn­ing anal­y­sis of CCTV footage, sourced from the pub­lic do­main, has also re­vealed the pos­si­ble in­volve­ment of an­other North Korean — pos­si­bly the ninth sus­pect.

The New Straits Times’ Spe­cial Probes Team learnt that this man is be­lieved to be one Chang Na­mun, who is in his mid-30s. He is be­lieved to have played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the mur­der plot.

He en­tered the frame as soon as Jong-nam be­gan mak­ing his way to the self check-in counter, where the lat­ter was even­tu­ally at­tacked by two women, who have since been charged with his mur­der.

An ex­pert sug­gested that Na­mun was among the sus­pects tasked with mak­ing sure that this do-or-die mis­sion was a suc­cess.

After the at­tack, as one of the as­sailants was mak­ing her get­away, she passed him, but not be­fore rais­ing her right hand. The ex­pert be­lieves that this was to in­di­cate that “the job was done”.

An­other clip later showed him turn­ing to walk in the op­po­site di­rec­tion al­most im­me­di­ately, and his path soon crossed that of the other al­leged as­sas­sin.

From the an­gles of their faces and the pause in his steps, the ex­pert said it was plau­si­ble that sig­nals were also ex­changed.

The team was later alerted to the fact that Ja­panese in­tel­li­gence in Bangkok had iden­ti­fied him as the fifth sus­pect who had fled Malaysia a few hours after the at­tack that day. This piece of in­for­ma­tion is be­lieved to have been chan­nelled to Kuala Lumpur.

The Spe­cial Probes Team made an­other chill­ing dis­cov­ery, which it shared with an ex­pert, who also saw the damn­ing links, to the whole plot.

There was a man who was stand­ing within earshot of Jong-nam as he stood at the in­for­ma­tion counter seek­ing help, telling the air­port’s per­son­nel that his face stung after some­one rubbed it with a form of liq­uid. The deadly sub­stance has since been iden­ti­fied as the deadly nerve agent, VX.

From that point, this man, who had a trol­ley bag with him, was al­ways a few steps be­hind Jong­nam as the lat­ter made his way to the clinic. He would have seen the ef­fects of the deadly chem­i­cal tak­ing hold, as Jong-nam, who ear­lier was walk­ing steadily, was al­ready be­gin­ning to drag his feet.

As he walked past the clinic, he turned to look at an in­creas­ingly fran­tic Jong-nam.

He sta­tioned him­self close to the exit with his back to the clinic, and as the med­i­cal of­fi­cer was pre­par­ing to wheel Jong-nam on a stretcher out to the wait­ing am­bu­lance, the man turned to Jong­nam’s way sev­eral times.

The North Korean sus­pects iden­ti­fied with their re­spec­tive roles seemed to elim­i­nate the pres­ence of James @ Ri Ji-u, 30.

If the man who tailed Jong-nam wasn’t James, in­ves­ti­ga­tors could be look­ing at the in­volve­ment of yet an­other sus­pect.

Po­lice on Feb 19, said they had iden­ti­fied four North Korean sus­pects in klia2 that day who fled soon after the at­tack, as well as three oth­ers, in­clud­ing James.

The four were iden­ti­fied Ri Ji hyon, Hong Song-hac, Ri Jae­nam and O Jong-gil.

It has also emerged that Jong­gil fled the coun­try with the man who could be the ninth sus­pect via klia2. Their es­cape route to Py­ongyang took them through Ph­nom Penh, Bangkok and Moscow. It is learnt that the five reached North Korea on Feb 17.

In­spec­tor-Gen­eral of Po­lice Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, when con­tacted, said the po­lice were look­ing into the pos­si­bil­ity of more sus­pects.

THE TASK­ING OR­DER FOR THOSE BE­HIND JONG-NAM’S MUR­DER

The two for­eign fe­male sus­pects The two fe­male sus­pects, who have since been charged with his mur­der, have main­tained that they thought it was a prank. Both were cap­tured on CCTV sneak­ing up on Jong-nam and swip­ing his face with a deadly con­coc­tion. Ex­perts be­lieve that one had in her bare hands, a non-deadly pre­cur­sor chem­i­cal, while the other, sul­phur. Both had al­legedly taken part in re­hearsals at two shop­ping malls in Kuala Lumpur, in­clud­ing at the foun­tain area of the Kuala Lumpur City Cen­tre. As one of the sus­pects took her es­cape route from be­hind the in­for­ma­tion counter, she made eye con­tact with an­other North Korean man — be­lieved to be Nam-un, who is pos­si­bly the ninth sus­pect, al­though po­lice have not yet iden­ti­fied him as one.

The other woman was seen in the footage rais­ing her right hand soon after the at­tack, as she was about to pass the ninth sus­pect. This fe­male sus­pect was ear­lier seen hid­ing be­hind a pil­lar, watch­ing Jong-nam as he was check­ing his flight de­tails on the elec­tronic board. At this point, she was seen with Jae-nam.

Hong Song-hac, 34

Po­lice said Song-hac left the coun­try with two other sus­pects, just a few hours after the at­tack, via Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Air­port. A close look at the CCTV footage sug­gests that Song-hac was with one of the sus­pects be­hind a pil­lar. He emerged from be­hind it, as soon as Jong-nam walked past. Wear­ing a longsleeved T-shirt, Song-hac was seen hold­ing a plas­tic bag. Ex­perts sug­gest that he could be car­ry­ing a key com­po­nent to fa­cil­i­tate the at­tack. A pic­ture of him at KLIA Im­mi­gra­tion con­trol as he was leav­ing the coun­try with his two ac­com­plices, showed him wear­ing a ma­roon T-shirt with noth­ing on his back. An­other CCTV clip showed him en­ter­ing the toi­let wear­ing a grey T-shirt. He had a black back­pack on him which he may have dumped. The only item that was con­sis­tently vis­i­ble through­out was the shoes he had on. Song-hac speaks flu­ent Ba­hasa In­done­sia. He is said to have re­cruited one of the two sus­pects.

Ri Jae-nam, 57, and Ri Ji-hyon, 33 Not much is known about th­ese two North Korean sus­pects who fled the coun­try with Song-hac, es­pe­cially Ji-hyon. It is, how­ever, be­lieved that the duo were re­spon­si­ble for re­cruit­ing the other al­leged as­sailant. It is be­lieved

that Jae-nam is an agent with North Korea’s Min­istry of State Se­cu­rity. The video showed him stand­ing with one of the fe­male sus­pects, watch­ing Jong-nam as he en­tered the de­par­ture hall. He moved away, and at one point, was just me­tres away from the un­sus­pect­ing tar­get. Im­me­di­ately after that, he was on the phone, pre­sum­ably with the as­sailant, who also hap­pened to be tak­ing a call. There is an In­ter­pol Red No­tice for the ar­rest of the three, as well as for one O Jong-gil. Not much is known about him, ex­cept that he is also with Py­ongyang’s se­cret po­lice. He is said to have worked with Song-hac in re­cruit­ing one of the fe­male sus­pects. It is un­der­stood that he left the coun­try with the man be­lieved to be the ninth sus­pect.

Hyon Kwang-song, 44, and Kim Uk-ill, 37

Kwang-song is the sec­ond-sec­re­tary at the North Korean em­bassy in Kuala Lumpur. A still im­age of them to­gether showed the diplo­mat and Uk-ill, a staff of Air Ko­ryo, al­legedly send­ing off the four sus­pects, who es­caped back to Py­ongyang. They were not vis­i­ble on klia2 CCTV footage when the mur­der plot un­folded and are be­lieved to be still in the coun­try.

James @ Ri Ji-u, 30

He was be­lieved to be with Song­hac at some point dur­ing the re­cruit­ment of one of the women. James had been seen with one of the sus­pects at a ho­tel in Sepang in the days be­fore the at­tack. It is not clear if it was James who had closely fol­lowed Jong-nam after he was at­tacked and stayed close even as paramedics at the klia2 clinic were rush­ing him to the wait­ing am­bu­lance. The NST learnt that one of the sus­pects had told po­lice that she did not see James at klia2 that day. If it wasn’t him who tailed Jong-nam till the end, there could be an­other uniden­ti­fied sus­pect.

Two men caught on klia2’s CCTV

footage who may have been in­volved in the at­tack on Kim

Jong-nam.

COURTESY OF HARIAN METRO PIX

Sus­pects in the Kim Jong-nam mur­der as cap­tured by CCTV cam­eras at klia2.

A man be­lieved to be James @ Ri Ji-u as cap­tured by a CCTV cam­era at a ho­tel in Sepang.

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