Kim Jong-nam death: Four N Korean suspects 'are spies'

Suspects were directed by N Korean leader and work for Pyongyang's spy agency, South Korean intelligence officials say.

    Malaysia's health minister the dose of nerve agent was so high that it killed Kim Jong-nam 'within 15-20 minutes' [AP]
    Malaysia's health minister the dose of nerve agent was so high that it killed Kim Jong-nam 'within 15-20 minutes' [AP]

    Four suspects in the killing of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un, are North Korean spies, South Korea's intelligence service told members of parliament in Seoul.

    Kim Jong-nam died February 13 at Kuala Lumpur's airport in what Malaysian police say was a well-planned hit by a Vietnamese woman and an Indonesian woman who separately wiped a liquid onto Kim's face.

    South Korean lawmakers cited the National Intelligence Service as telling them in a private briefing on Monday that four of the North Koreans identified as suspects by Malaysian police investigating the death are from the Ministry of State Security, the North's spy agency.

    The NIS was quoted as saying that two other suspects are affiliated with Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry, according to Lee Cheol-woo, one of the politicians who attended the briefing.

    READ MORE: Kim Jong-nam attack reveals true nature of North Korea

    Another legislator, Kim Byeong-ki cited the NIS as saying Kim Jong-un directed a "state-organised terror" to kill his brother.

    The politicians did not say how the NIS got the information and if it elaborated on what specific roles these North Korean suspects performed.

    The NIS has a mixed record on reporting developments in the secretive North. The agency said it cannot confirm its reported assessment on Kim Jong-nam's death.

    Malaysia has not directly accused North Korea of having masterminded the Kim Jong-nam killing but is pursuing several North Korean suspects, including a diplomat at the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

    Police last week identified the substance as the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent, and Malaysia's health minister said on Sunday the dose was so high it caused "very serious paralysis" and killed him within 20 minutes.

    READ MORE: Meet the Kims - Who's who in North Korea's first family

    Malaysian officials have said four North Korean men provided the two women with the VX agent, then fled Malaysia the same day.

    It was unclear if those four were the four North Korean spies cited by South Korea's intelligence agency.
    North Korea has repeatedly criticised Malaysia's investigation and has not acknowledged the victim's identity.

    SOURCE: News agencies


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months