The Latest: Malaysia to deport NKorean after questioning

AP News
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Posted: Mar 02, 2017 11:03 PM
The Latest: Malaysia to deport NKorean after questioning

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Latest on the investigation into the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader, in Malaysia (all times local):

11 a.m.

A North Korean man, who had been held for questioning in the murder of exiled half-brother of North Korea's leader, has been released from police custody and handed over to the immigration officials to be deported.

Ri Jong Chol, 46, was detained Feb 17, four days after the exiled half-brother of North Korea's leader was poisoned at Malaysia's main airport.

National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed Friday that Ri has been released, saying there was a lack of evidence to charge him. Ri will be deported as he does not have any valid travel documents.

Immigration officials couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

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10 a.m.

The family of Vietnamese woman charged with murder in the killing of the half brother of North Korea's ruler wants government help getting lawyers to defend her.

Doan Van Thanh, the father of Doan Thi Huong, said he met with Foreign Ministry representatives and requested their help in hiring the lawyers.

Huong together with an Indonesian woman were captured in surveillance video at the Kuala Lumpur airport where Kim Yong Nam was fatally poisoned on Feb. 13. They have been charged with murder, and Malaysia has appointed a Malaysian lawyer to defend Huong.

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8:30 a.m.

Malaysia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it is concerned about the use of a toxic chemical listed as a banned weapon that was used to kill a North Korean at Kuala Lumpur's airport on Feb. 13.

"Its use at a public place could have endangered the general public," it said. Malaysia says the dead man is Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea's ruler.

Two women accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim's face as he waited for a flight at Kuala Lumpur's airport have been charged with murder.

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6:15 p.m.

A North Korean envoy says a heart attack likely killed Kim Jong Nam, not VX nerve agent as a Malaysia autopsy showed.

Ri Tong Il, the former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters Thursday that the victim took medication for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

He referred to the victim as Kim Chol — the name on the diplomatic passport the victim was carrying. But authorities in Malaysia have said he is Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea's ruler.

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5:50 p.m.

A high-level defector says he's certain North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was behind Kim Jong Nam's death.

Thae Yong Ho told reporters from Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV that it was unthinkable that Kim Jong Un would not have approved of the high-profile assassination of his half brother.

In the report broadcast Thursday from Seoul, Thae says "North Korea is a society ruled in terror. For a big decision like killing Kim Jong Nam, no one could make a decision like that except Kim Jong Un."

Thae was the former deputy head of the North Korean Embassy in London until last year, when he fled to South Korea, becoming the most senior diplomat to switch sides.

He added that he was "not afraid of terrifying threats (from North Korea). I have to be in public."

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12:15 p.m.

Malaysia's attorney general says a North Korean man will be released and deported because of lack of evidence connecting him to the nerve agent attack on Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of the North Korean ruler.

Attorney General Mohamad Apandi Ali said Thursday that 45-year-old Ri Jong Chol will be released Friday. Malaysia has not described his alleged role in the killing.

He was arrested on Feb. 17, four days after Kim was attacked at Kuala Lumpur's airport.