Key developments in Kim Jong Nam assassination investigation

AP News
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Posted: Feb 26, 2017 6:38 AM
Key developments in Kim Jong Nam assassination investigation

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Key developments in the investigation into the killing of the North Korean leader's estranged half brother at Kuala Lumpur's airport on Feb. 13:

HEALTH MINISTER: NERVE AGENT CAUSED FATAL PARALYSIS

The discovery of the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam's face and the hospital's autopsy result suggest a "chemical agent caused very serious paralysis" that led to his death "in a very short period of time," Malaysia's Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said Sunday.

Asked how long it took for Kim to die after he was attacked, Subramaniam said, "I would think it was about, from the time of onset, from the time of application, 15-20 minutes."

Malaysia hasn't directly accused the North Korean government of being behind the attack, but officials have said four North Korean men provided two women with poison to carry it out. The four men fled Malaysia on the same day as the killing, while the women — one from Indonesia and the other Vietnamese — were arrested.

Police official Abdul Samah Mat said that the Indonesian woman, Siti Aisyah, vomited in a taxi on the way from the airport after the attack but was fine now. He said that more tests were needed to determine if the two suspects were given antidotes so the nerve agent wouldn't kill them.

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$90 FOR THE 'PRANK'

Representatives from the Indonesian and Vietnamese embassies in Malaysia met with the two women Saturday.

Indonesia's deputy ambassador Andriano Erwin told reporters that Aisyah said she had been paid the equivalent of $90 for what she believed was a harmless prank. Aisyah, 25, said she had been introduced to people who looked like Japanese or Koreans and who asked her to play a prank for a reality show, according to Erwin.

Asked if she knew what was on her hands at the time of the attack, Erwin said: "She didn't tell us about that. She only said that it's a kind of oil, baby oil, something like that."

The Vietnamese woman, Doan Thi Huong, also thought she was taking part in a prank, Vietnam's foreign ministry said.

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AIRPORT DECLARED SAFE

Starting at 2 a.m. Sunday, police wearing hazmat suits from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear teams, as well as the fire department's hazardous materials unit and the government's atomic energy board, swept the budget terminal where Kim Jong Nam was attacked for two hours and detected no hazardous substance, Abdul Samah said.

He said the terminal was "free from any form of contamination of hazardous material" and declared it a "safe zone."

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MALAYSIA WARNS IT WILL ISSUE ARREST WARRANT FOR DIPLOMAT

Malaysian police warned Saturday that they would issue an arrest warrant for a North Korean diplomat in Kuala Lumpur if he refuses to cooperate with the investigation.

Police say Hyon Kwang Song, a second secretary at the North Korean Embassy, is wanted for questioning.

Although authorities acknowledged he has diplomatic immunity and they couldn't compel him to appear, Abdul Samah said they would give the diplomat reasonable time to come forward. "And if he failed to turn up ... then we will go to the next step by getting a warrant of arrest from the court," he told reporters.

Lawyer Sankara Nair said that diplomats have immunity privileges even in criminal cases.