A Japanese TV network has obtained surveillance video of what appears to be the shocking assassination last week of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The chilling attack on Kim Jong Nam has raised disturbing questions about motive and how it could have occurred in full view of scores of people in a busy Malaysian terminal. Kim’s death a week ago has sparked an ugly diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea.
South Korea has accused the North Korean government of the “act of terrorism,” CNN reports. Kim Jong Nam, the oldest son of the late North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il, reportedly wrote a letter five years ago pleading with his brother to drop a standing order for his assassination, Reuters has reported.
Officials say Kim was accosted by two women who held a handkerchief to his mouth as he was preparing to take a flight to his home in Macau.
In a press conference on Sunday, Malaysian police said Kim complained to airport customer service workers that two women had “wiped his face with a liquid.”
The grainy video appears to show a tall woman grabbing Kim from behind in a confrontation that lasts less than three seconds. Kim is then seen approaching airport workers and gesturing, apparently explaining what had happened and appealing for help because he was dizzy, The Wall Street Journal reports. Another video shows Kim at an airport clinic. He died soon after in an ambulance rushing him to a local hospital. No details have been released about the liquid used on his face.
Siti Aisyah, a 25-year-old Indonesian masseuse, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, of Vietnam have been arrested in the attack. Aisyah, whose boyfriend Muhammad Farid Bin Jalaluddin has also been arrested, told investigators that she thought she was participating in a prank for a TV show when she grabbed Kim, according to CNN. One of the women was seen in surveillance video wearing a white shirt that read “LOL.”
Another North Korean man is also being detained, and four others from North Korea who have already left Malaysia are being sought in the assassination.
Pyongyang insisted that Kim’s body be sent immediately to North Korea, but officials in Malaysia decided to conduct an autopsy. That led North Korea’s ambassador to accuse Malaysia of engaging in a cover-up and colluding with “hostile forces.” Malaysia then summoned home its own ambassador from Pyongyang, the BBC reported.
The relationship between Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Nam is murky. Kim Jong Nam had a close relationship with China and had been living in Macau. An assassination engineered by North Korea could further damage an already fraught relationship between Pyongyang and China.