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KUALA LUMPUR, 16 Feb 2017:
A woman suspect arrested this morning in connection with the assassination of the estranged half-brother of the North Korean president is the bearer of an Indonesian passport. Police said the latest arrest was made at 2am.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the suspect is named Siti Aishah. He said Siti Aishah was born in Serang, Indonesia, on 11 Feb 1992.
“Police also have confirmed that the suspect was positively identified from the CCTV footage at the KL International Airport 2 (klia2) and was alone at the time of arrest.
“The investigation continues, action against suspect will be taken in accordance with the law,” Khalid said in a statement.
Yesterday, police arrested a 29-year-old woman who held a Socialist Republic of Vietnam travel document bearing the name Doan Thi Huong, at klia2.
Later, Malaysian police made a third arrest on Thursday in their hunt for the people involved in the murder.
The third person, whose nationality was not disclosed, was the friend of an Indonesian woman.
“He was detained to facilitate investigations as he is the boyfriend of the second suspect,” said Datuk Abu Samah Mat, the police chief in Selangor.
On Monday, Kim Jong-nam – the elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – was reportedly at klia2 at 8am to board a flight to Macau when a woman suddenly covered his face with a cloth laced with poison.
Jong-nam, who was reportedly using a passport with the name Kim Chol, was reported to have died on the way to hospital.
The remand order on these two foreign women was made at the Sepang district police headquarters (IPD).
Sepang magistrate Sharifah Muhaymin Abd Khalid was brought to the Sepang IPD in a police patrol car for the remand order process.
Wearing her magistrate’s robe, she arrived at the IPD at about 10.30am and left half an hour later. However, the two foreign women were not seen.
Press people had earlier gathered at the Sepang Court grounds before rushing to the IPD upon receiving information that the remand order was being made there.
Selangor police chief, Datuk Abdul Samah Mat, when contacted, said the two women were being remanded for seven days from today.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today officially confirmed the North Korean man who died at klia2 on Monday was Kim Jong-nam, the estranged elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Ahmad Zahid, who is the Deputy Prime Minister, said Jong-nam was the same person who carried the passport bearing the name Kim Chol.
The identity was verified based on the passport which, he said, was authentic.
He said Jong-nam carried two different identities in what could have been undercover passports, and the documents were authentic.
“His identity was confirmed from the passport that we compared with the document issued by the Embassy of North Korea and by the identity issued by the embassy.”
Asked whether the police had identified the North Korean by his DNA, Ahmad Zahid said the hospital authorities and police would issue the official statement on that as it was an operational matter.
He said the government would facilitate any request by North Korea to claim the body, in accordance with standard operation procedure.
The body would be released to the next-of-kin or the embassy after all the police and medical procedures had been completed, he said.
“To date, (there has been) no official request (from the next-of-kin) but they (the family) probably channelled their request to the North Korean embassy.”
Asked if the body would be released after an autopsy, Ahmad Zahid said: “Yes, we have to follow medical procedure, especially the forensic part of it.”
When asked if Jong-nam’s death had been categorised as sudden death or murder, he said it was an operational matter and the police would give an official statement on the matter.
Replying to another question, Ahmad Zahid said the death had not affected bilateral ties between North Korea and Malaysia.
He said the government would maintain and strengthen diplomatic relations with any country that had their embassies in Malaysia.
“We recognise that diplomatic relations will be strengthened and we would like to facilitate if they have any problem pertaining to their security in our country.”
Ahmad Zahid said the incident was an isolated case which could have happened in any country.
He said no Pyongyang official had contacted him directly or sought his help but he was aware that they had been in contact with Wisma Putra.
On speculation that North Korea was behind the death of Jong-nam, Ahmad Zahid said it was merely speculation.
Ahmad Zahid also gave an assurance on the safety at Malaysia’s airports, including klia2, saying it was at the highest level and that the death was an isolated case.
“We have high-definition closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, the (authorities’) omnipresence and security system.”
In Jong-nam’s case, he said, the Malaysian authorities were monitoring the footage of CCTV cameras and would be getting details from those arrested.
Ahmad Zahid said that at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, it was stressed the government would protect visitors to the country and would not compromise on any security issue created by Malaysians or foreigners.
He said the Cabinet also agreed that Malaysia would facilitate the investigation into the death of Jong-nam.
Asked when and why Jong-nam entered Malaysia, Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia’s Immigration Act allowed any legal visitor to enter the country.
“When he entered, why was he here and why was he flying to Macau, these are operational questions which the Director-General of the Immigration Department or the police will be able to answer.”
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