Malaysian police say a preliminary report shows the murder of the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was carried out with a nerve agent used in chemical warfare.
Kim Jong-nam died after two women attacked him at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last week as he prepared to board a flight to Macau.
Indonesia’s deputy ambassador to Malaysia said on Saturday the female Indonesian suspect accused of killing Kim was paid $90 to help carry out the attack involving VX nerve agent.
Deputy Ambassador Andriano Erwin repeated Siti Aisyah’s previous claim that she was duped into the plot, thinking she was taking part in a prank. Another alleged attacker, a Vietnamese woman, is also in custody.
According to police, Aisyah rubbed VX nerve agent on Kim’s face amid crowds of travelers at Kuala Lumpur’s airport on February 13.
VX nerve agent, or S-2 Diisoprophylaminoethyl methylphosphonothiolate, is a chemical weapon classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.
Police have not said how the women were able to apply the nerve agent to Kim’s face and also avoid becoming ill themselves. It is not known if they were wearing some sort of thin gloves or if washing their hands quickly removed the danger.
Malaysia said on Saturday it would issue an arrest warrant for a North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning over the murder if he doesn’t voluntarily cooperate with the police.
Earlier this week, Malaysia said 44-year-old Hyon Kwang-song – a second secretary at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur – was wanted for questioning over the killing.
“Reasonable” time will be given for the diplomat to come forward before police take further action, said Abdul Samah Mat, police chief for Selangor state.
Samah said if the person concerned did not cooperate the police would issue a notice under Malaysian law, “compelling” them to appear before the investigation team.
“And if he failed to turn up upon given this notice, then we will go to the next step by getting a warrant of arrest from the court,” he told reporters.
It was unclear if the embassy official can be detained since police have said he has diplomatic immunity.
Eight North Koreans are wanted in connection with the case, including the diplomat.
North Korea’s state-controlled media mentioned the case for the first time on Thursday, saying Malaysia’s investigation was full of “holes and contradictions” without acknowledging the victim was Kim Jong-nam.