Authorities seek more suspects in assassination
5 KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA >> Two more people, one of them a woman with an Indonesian passport, were arrested Thursday in the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, Malaysian authorities said as they continued to hunt for conspirators. The Indonesian, identified as Siti Aishah, 25, is the second woman arrested in the case. Her appearance matches the image of a woman captured in airport surveillance videos, said a statement from Khalid Abu Bakar, inspector general of police. Police later said in a statement that Siti’s boyfriend, a 26-year-old Malaysian, had been arrested “to assist in investigations.” He was identified as Muhammad Farid Bin Jalaluddin. In Jakarta an official from Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said Siti was an Indonesian citizen. The Indonesian government has asked for access to her so that its embassy employees in Kuala Lumpur can provide legal assistance.
The arrests brought the number of people detained in the case to three. A woman arrested Wednesday was carrying a Vietnamese passport, but it remained unclear whether she was from Vietnam.
The news media in Malaysia reported that police were looking for four male suspects, suggesting that the plot was more involved than initially indicated. It was unclear whether the Malaysian man arrested Thursday was one of the four.
Kim Jong Nam, 45, was preparing to fly to his home in Macau from Kuala Lumpur on Monday morning when he was attacked and poisoned by two women at Terminal 2 of the international airport, authorities said.
The attack occurred near the AirAsia counter where Kim would have been checking in for the flight to Macau. The poison took effect quickly, and he died on the way to a hospital. While the poisoning of Kim in a very public place conjured up images of spy movies, the plot appears to have been rather unsophisticated, and Malaysian police rounded up the first two suspects relatively quickly. The authorities were slow to confirm that Kim was the brother of North Korea’s leader and initially identified him as Kim Chol, based on the passport that he was using to fly to Macau. Even though Kim lived with his family in Macau, his body will be sent to North Korea at the request of the government in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, the Malaysian news media quoted government officials as saying.