Malaysia requests Interpol alert on four North Koreans over airport murder

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Malaysia has requested Interpol to put an alert out to apprehend four North Korean suspects in the murder of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Malaysia's police chief said on Thursday.

Kim Jong Nam, who was killed in Kuala Lumpur's main airport on Feb. 13, had spoken out publicly in the past against his family's dynastic control of the isolated, nuclear-armed state.

South Korean and U.S. officials say he was assassinated by North Korean agents. North Korea has not acknowledged his death.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said the two women - one Vietnamese, one Indonesian - arrested last week had been paid for carrying out the fatal assault on Kim Jong Nam using a fast-acting poison.

See more on the investigation:

10 PHOTOS
Kim Jong Nam murder investigation
See Gallery
Kim Jong Nam murder investigation
Malaysia's Royal Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar (C) speaks next to a screen showing North Korean Kim Uk Il during a news conference regarding the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader, at the Malaysian police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Malaysia's Royal Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar (C) speaks next to a screen showing North Korean suspect Ri Ji U during a news conference regarding the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader, at the Malaysian police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Malaysia's Royal Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar (C) speaks next to a screen showing North Korean suspect Ri Ji U during a news conference regarding the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader, at the Malaysian police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Malaysian police officers gather in front of the gate of the morgue at Kuala Lumpur General Hospital where Kim Jong Nam's body is held for autopsy in Malaysia February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
A reporter holds up a local newspaper during his report in front of the morgue at Kuala Lumpur General Hospital where Kim Jong Nam's body is held for autopsy in Malaysia February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Malaysia's Royal Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar demonstrates to the media during a news conference regarding the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader, at the Malaysian police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Nguyen Thi Vy, 54, mother in law of Doan Thi Huong, a suspect involved in the assassination of Kim Jong-Un's half-brother, looks at handouts and published photographs of the four arrested suspects including Huong at Huong's family home in Nghia Hung district, northern province of Nam Dinh on February 22, 2017. Detectives probing the assassination of Kim Jong-Un's half-brother want to question a North Korean diplomat, Malaysia's top policeman said. Royal Malaysian Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong, 28, and Indonesian Siti Aishah, 25, had been trained to swab the man's face, practising in Kuala Lumpur before the assault at the airport. / AFP / HOANG DINH NAM (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)
A look at the murder of Kim Jong Nam, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half brother.
Package looking at Kim Jong Nam's movement, the Kim family and the purge led by Kim Jong Un.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

He declined to say if they had been used by a foreign intelligence agency.

Police are also holding one North Korean man, but are seeking another seven in connection with the murder.

Hyon Kwang Song, a second secretary at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Kim Uk Il, an employee of state-owned airline Air Koryo, are among three North Koreans wanted for questioning who are still believed to be in Malaysia.

Khalid told reporters that a request had been made to Interpol to put out an alert to apprehend the other four, who are believed to have made their way back to North Korea, having fled Malaysia on the day of the killing..

Khalid said a police request has been sent to the North Korean embassy requesting to interview the diplomat and airline employee.

"If you have nothing to hide, you should not be afraid to cooperate, you should cooperate," Khalid said.

He said an arrest warrant would not be issued for the embassy official, as he has diplomatic immunity, but that "the process of the law will take place" if the airline official does not come forward.

Earlier on Thursday, an official from the North Korea embassy in Kuala Lumpur said no formal request to interview either man had been received, and he did not respond when asked if the embassy would cooperate should it receive one.

Meantime, Indonesia has sought consular access to Siti Aishah, the Indonesian woman held in detention.

"I have instructed our foreign minister to provide assistance...and protection to Siti Aishah through a lawyer. So there can be some clarity on whether or not she is a victim," Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in Jakarta.

DIPLOMATIC ROW

A friendship between Malaysia and North Korea, going back to the 1970s, has soured in the wake of Kim Jong Nam's murder.

North Korea unsuccessfully tried to prevent an autopsy, accusing Malaysia of working with South Korean and other "hostile forces."

Malaysia responded by recalling its ambassador to Pyongyang for consultations.

See more on Kim Jong Nam:

9 PHOTOS
Kim Jong Nam
See Gallery
Kim Jong Nam

Kim Jong Nam arrives at Beijing airport in Beijing, China, in this photo taken by Kyodo February 11, 2007.

(Kyodo/via REUTERS)

This combo shows a file photo (L) taken on May 4, 2001 of a man believed to be Kim Jong-Nam, son of the late-North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, getting off a bus to board an All Nippon Airways plane at Narita airport near Tokyo and a file photo (R) of his half-brother, current North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, on a balcony of the Grand People's Study House following a mass parade in Pyongyang on May 10, 2016. The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who has been murdered in Malaysia, pleaded for his life after a failed assassination bid in 2012, lawmakers briefed by South Korea's spy chief said on February 15, 2017. Jong-Nam, the eldest son of the late former leader Kim Jong-Il, was once seen as heir apparent but fell out of favor following an embarrassing botched bid in 2001 to enter Japan on a forged passport and visit Disneyland.

(TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA,ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

A man (R) believed to be North Korean heir-apparent Kim Jong Nam, is escorted by police as he boards a plane upon his deportation from Japan at Tokyo's Narita international airport in Narita, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo May 4, 2001. 

(Kyodo/via REUTERS)

A man watches a television showing news reports of Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, in Seoul on February 14, 2017. Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been assassinated in Malaysia, South Korean media reported on February 14.

(JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

In a picture taken on June 4, 2010 Kim Jong-Nam, the eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, waves after an interview with South Korean media representatives in Macau. Kim Jong-Nam was in the limelight with Seoul's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper carrying a snatched interview with him at a hotel in Macau. Jong-Nam declined knowledge of the warship incident, it reported, and said his father is 'doing well'. North Korean Leader Leader Kim Jong-Il on June 7 attended a rare second annual session of parliament at which Kim's brother-in-law was promoted and the country's prime minister was sacked, state media reported.

(JoongAng Sunday/AFP/Getty Images)

This photo taken on February 11, 2007 shows a man believed to be then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's eldest son, Kim Jong-Nam (C), walking amongst journalists upon his arrival at Beijing's international airport. The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who has been murdered in Malaysia, pleaded for his life after a failed assassination bid in 2012, lawmakers briefed by South Korea's spy chief said on February 15, 2017.

(JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

BEIJING, CHINA: A man believed to be the eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, Kim Jong-Nam, answers Japanese reporters' questions at the Beijing International airport, 25 September 2004.

(JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

A man believed to be North Korean heir-apparent Kim Jong-nam emerges from a bus as he is escorted by Japanese authorities upon his deportation from Japan at Tokyo's Narita international airport May 4, 2001. Believed to be Kim Jong-nam, eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the man entered Japan with a forged passport on Tuesday, but was deported to China on Friday.

(Eriko Sugita / Reuters)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

North Korea's ambassador to Kuala Lumpur has said the Malaysian investigation cannot be trusted, and that the three suspects that have been detained should be released immediately.

And on Thursday, North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency reported that Pyongyang blamed Malaysia for its citizen's death and accused it of adopting an "unfriendly attitude".

The KCNA report only referred to the murder victim as a "citizen", as Pyongyang rejects reports that it is the half brother of the country's leader.

Malaysian police have still to receive DNA samples from Kim Jong Nam's next of kin, Khalid said. He also denied that Malaysian police officers had been sent to Macau, the Chinese territory where Kim Jong Nam and his family had been living under Beijing's protection.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners