N. Korean suspect is son of ex-envoy to Vietnam, says report
HANOI: A North Korean suspect linked to the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half brother of the North Korean president Kim Jong-un, is reportedly a son of the former top North Korean envoy to Vietnam.
Yonhap News Agency yesterday quoted sources as saying that Ri Ji-hyon, 33, is the son of Ri Hong, former North Korean ambassador to Hanoi.
It is said that Ri had lived in Vietnam for about 10 years.
The news reported that Ri was suspected of luring Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 29, into the plot to kill Kim Jongnam in Malaysia on Feb 13.
The sources said Ri worked as a trainee diplomat at the embassy in Vietnam for more than a year in November 2009. He also worked as an interpreter.
Ri is one of four North Korean suspects who were at klia2 and observed from afar as two female suspects smeared VX nerve agent on Jong-nam’s face.
Ri and the other accomplices — Hong Song-hac, 34; O Jong-gil, 55; and Ri Jaenam, 57 — fled Malaysia right after the execution of the killing and were believed to have returned to Pyongyang.
Yonhap reported the sources as saying that Ri and Jae-nam are believed to have visited Vietnam last December in a bid to find a Vietnamese citizen to join the plot.
The duo and Huong went to Cambodia to go through trial runs with her prior to what she believed to be a show, said the sources.
Meanwhile, Japan broadcaster NHK reported that O Jonggil had a stint as the second secretary at the North Korean Embassy in Indonesia. It is said that O Jong-gil had played his part in recruiting Indonesian suspect Siti Aisyah, 25.
It is said that O Jong-gil is also fluent in the Indonesian language.
The sources, as reported by Yonhap, said that Siti Aisyah had similar practice runs at a different place in Cambodia.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar declined to comment on the reports by Yonhap.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and Speaker of the South Korean National Assembly Chung Sye-kyun at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.