Malaysia police on Thursday (Feb 16) confirmed that a second woman, a 25-year-old who holds an Indonesian passport, has been detained in connection with the death of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The woman’s passport identifies her as Siti Aishah, according to a statement issued by Malaysia police. It says she’s from Serang, west of Java island.
“She was also positively identified from the CCTV footage at the airport and was alone at the time of arrest,” Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in the statement.
Two women had attacked Mr Kim Jong Nam at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Monday morning as he was readying to board a flight to Macau where he had spent many years in exile, South Korea’s spy chief Lee Byung Ho has said, pointing the finger of blame at the North.
The assassins reportedly sprayed toxins in Kim’s face.
Malaysian authorities said Mr Kim, a portly 45-year-old with a playboy reputation, was walking through the departure hall outside the immigration area when he was attacked. He reportedly died on the way to hospital.
“We are looking for more suspects,” Selangor state police chief Abdul Samah Mat told Agence France-Presse, but declined to say how many were being sought, or their nationalities.
Mr Kim’s autopsy was completed on Wednesday evening, with authorities closely guarding the hospital mortuary to prevent unauthorised removal of the body. Officials have not released the post-mortem result.
Officials from the North Korean embassy was reported to have protested against the autopsy and stayed at the hospital for hours.
The first detained female suspect is a 28-year-old who holds a Vietnamese passport. Named as Doan Thi Huong, she was caught at KLIA2 on Wednesday morning attempting to depart to Vietnam.
Local dailies reported that the woman told officers she was roped in for a prank to spray liquid onto a stranger at the airport.
CCTV images that emerged in Malaysian media, purportedly of the first detained female suspect, showed an Asian woman wearing a white top with the letters “LOL” emblazoned on the front.
The deceased was travelling with a passport identifying him as Kim Chol, 46, from Pyongyang, say Malaysia police, who are still trying to determine if the passport is legitimate.
If confirmed, the assassination, which analysts said could have been ordered over reports Mr Kim was readying to defect, would be the highest-profile death under the watch of the North’s young leader Kim Jong Un.
In a country with a long record of meting out brutal deaths, Mr Kim Jong Un is believed to have ordered the 2013 execution of his influential uncle Jang Song Thaek.