Four North Korean suspects in the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un fled Malaysia on the day he was attacked at Kuala Lumpur airport and apparently killed by a fast-acting poison, police said on Sunday (Feb 19, 2017).
A North Korean man, a Vietnamese woman and an Indonesian woman have been arrested already in connection with the assassination of Kim Jong Nam last Monday, which has triggered a diplomatic spat between Malaysia and Pyongyang, Reuters reported.
South Korean and US officials believe Kim Jong Nam was killed by agents from the reclusive North, whose diplomats in Kuala Lumpur sought to prevent an autopsy on the 46-year-old’s body and demanded it be handed over.
“We believe the North Korean regime is behind this incident considering five suspects are North Koreans,” said Jeong Joon-hee, spokesman at South Korea’s Unification Ministry that handles inter-Korea affairs, at a briefing on Sunday.
Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, had spoken out publicly against his family’s dynastic control of isolated, nuclear-armed North Korea.
The young, unpredictable North Korean leader had issued a “standing order” for his elder half-brother’s assassination, and that there had been a failed attempt in 2012, said Reuters.
Deputy Inspector-General of police Noor Rashid Ismail told a news conference that Malaysia is coordinating with Interpol to track down the four North Koreans but would not reveal where they flew to on the day of the murder.