North Korea Paid Kim Murder Suspect for Pranks, Malaysian Investigator Testifies

by Antonio Miles February 1, 2018, 0:55
North Korea Paid Kim Murder Suspect for Pranks, Malaysian Investigator Testifies

The testimony was provided during the trial of the two young women, Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, who stand accused of murdering the North Korean by smearing VX, a universally banned nerve agent, across his face on 13 February.

In his cross examination, he grilled Mr Azirul about Kim's Langkawi meeting with a Korean-American man based in Bangkok, which was first reported by Japan's Asahi Shimbun past year.

The witness, a police investigator, testified at a high court in Malaysia on Tuesday.

On Gooi's suggestion, the ninth witness agreed that Siti Aisyah was paid RM400 to perform the pranks, but on the location and time of the performances, he said he "didn't know".

Fuelling speculation that Kim had ties with United States intelligence, Wan Azirul Nizam also confirmed that a forensic report on Kim's Dell laptop showed that some data was accessed by a USB pen drive several times on Feb 9, 2017, while he was in Langkawi.

Mr Azirul said he despatched a police officer to investigate Kim's five-day trip to Langkawi from Feb 8 to 12 to help shed light on the motive for the assassination at the departure hall of Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, left, is escorted by police as she leaves after a court hearing.

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Now a police witness has come forward, alleging that Nam met an unidentified American on a tourist island in Malaysia four days before he was assassinated. The court also heard that an embassy official met the suspects before they fled and facilitated their check-in at the airport.

If the two are found guilty of intending to kill the North Korean leader's half-brother, they will be charged with the death penalty by hanging.

Aisyah and Huong, 29, have been pleading their innocence since the trial started in October, claiming they believed they were taking part in a prank that was part of a hidden-camera TV show.

Lawyers for the two women have previously asked the court to compel prosecutors to identify four people still at large mentioned in the charge sheet as having a common intention to kill Nam. Kim Jong Nam was thought to be the heir apparent to be the leader of North Korea, but fell out of favor.

Motivation behind the defense team's questions were originally prompted by an article published last May in the Japanese newspaper Ashai Shimbun, which claimed that Jong-nam had met with the suspected Korean-American intelligence agent on 9 February 2017.

Though North Korea denies any involvement in the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the same country that has worked to build up a nuclear arsenal while under the heaviest sanctions on earth might not think twice about offing a member of the Kim family to protect from coups orchestrated by outsiders.

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