A suspect in the death of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, thought she was rubbing baby oil on his face, according to an Indonesian official.
The suspect is one of two women whom Malaysian authorities believe swiped the face of Kim Jong Nam with the VX nerve agent that led to his death while he was waiting to catch a flight February 13 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Indonesian authorities were able to meet with suspect Siti Aishah, an Indonesian citizen, for the first time Saturday.
Aishah thought the substance she rubbed on Kim’s face was “a kind of oil, baby oil, something like that,” said Andreano Erwin, Indonesia’s deputy ambassador to Malaysia.
But Malaysian police said Friday that tests on Kim’s eyes and face revealed the presence of the VX nerve agent. VX is an internationally banned substance that can kill within minutes.
After the women wiped Kim’s face with the liquid, he started feeling dizzy and died shortly afterward on his way to the hospital, Malaysian police said.
Erwin said Aishah told Indonesian authorities she was asked to do these “activities” by people who “looked like Japanese or Koreans.” The deputy ambassador also said Aishah was given 400 Malaysian ringgits (about $90) for her role.
The woman earlier told investigators she thought she was participating in a television prank show when she squirted liquid in Kim’s face, Indonesian police said.
Malaysian police Inspector-General Khalid Abu Bakar shot down the prank story, saying the women were “trained to swap the deceased’s face.”
More suspects sought
Malaysian police have said Aishah and a Vietnamese woman named Doan Thi Huong acted at the instruction of four North Koreans, but North Korea vehemently denies any involvement in Kim’s death.
Malaysian authorities have asked Interpol to put out an alert for the four North Koreans. Malaysian police have said the four suspects are thought to be back in Pyongyang.
Three other North Koreans are wanted for questioning by Malaysian police, including Hyon Kwang Song, second secretary at the North Korean Embassy in Malaysia, and Kim Uk Il, a staff member of North Korea’s state-owned Air Koryo.
Both are believed to still be in Malaysia.
No sickness reported at airport
No one at the Kuala Lumpur airport has become sick due to exposure to the VX nerve agent that investigators believe was used in Kim’s killing, airport officials said Saturday.
“No anomalies on the medical cases” have been reported at an airport clinic, and the staff member who attended to Kim before his death “is in good health,” according to Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, which manages the airport.