Footage from a CCTV camera at the Kuala Lumpur airport showing how two female suspects attacked and killed Kim Jong Un’s estranged stepbrother was shown during a court trial on Wednesday.
The two women were seen hurrying away in different directions after the incident but another video which was recorded two days earlier shows the Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong practicing a similar attack on an unsuspecting traveler. Although she apologized to the first victim, no apologies was tendered to Nam on the day he was allegedly assassinated.
Image shows the prime suspect
Huong approached the deceased from behind as soon as he arrived the departure hall at Kuala Lumpur airport, clasped his face in her hands, and smeared him with a deadly nerve agent VX on 13 February. She hurriedly left the scene immediately.
Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz, a Malaysian police officer who was at his post near the check-in area on that fateful day, said he identified Huong as the culprit.
‘She was very agressive,’ Aziz said of the Vietnamese.
The police officer also identified a second suspect, an Indonesian citizen named Siti Aisyah, who was seen running away in a different direction immediately after the attack on Kim Jong Un’s half brother.
Image: Siti Aisyah
Narrating events from the video footage, Aziz said the two women were hired assassins who knew they were dealing with deadly poison. Both suspects were seen in other videos as they hurried to separate restrooms with their hands hanging far from their bodies as if to avoid contact.
Later on, when the women reappeared in the videos, their hands were in their normal positions. Huong and her accomplice also avoided using restrooms located on the same floor where they attacked Nam; they went a floor down.
Prosecutors argued that Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong were aware that the nerve agent could be successfully removed from one’s body after thorough washing within 15 minutes of exposure.
A government chemist who handled Nam’s autopsy reported that the North Korean citizen had an excessive dose of VX on his face. Further investigations revealed traces of the toxin on Huong’s fingernail clippings and both women’s clothing.
“From my observation, Doan has been informed and knew what needed to be done,” Mr Aziz testified in court. “Even though she seemed to be in a panic, she knew what to do. She was very anxious.”
Attorneys to the suspects claim they were deceived by a group, believed to be North Koreans, who convinced them that they were playing a harmless prank for a TV show.
More CCTV videos showed Aisyah took off her headscarf before the attack on Nam and later wore it on her way out from the restroom. She was dressed in a gray sleeveless top and jeans.
Huong’s cab was seen at a halt in the taxi line while her partner-in-crime boarded another one which appeared to be waiting at the airport taxi stand. The Vietnamese wore a white long-sleeve top with LOL boldly emblazoned on it.
Kim Jong Nam had a total of $100,000 cash in his backpack. The recordings preceding his attack were also played in court.
Although the two women, judging from previous videos in the media, may not have known each other before the attack on Nam, a security video showed Huong buying a taxi ticket at the airport about 2 hours before making contact with her victim.
Another video showed the second suspect meeting with a man at a cafe located near the crime scene barely 45 minutes earlier. They talked for a while and shared drinks. The man was later identified as a ticket vendor.
Huong and Aisyah pleaded not guilty to murder charges. They’re facing an irrevocable death sentence if convicted of the crime.
According to The Associated Press, the judge, lawyers and two suspects are expected to visit the crime scene on Oct. 24. Four other suspects are expected in court soonest.
Yusron Ambary, counsellor at the Indonesian Embassy, said Siti wrote a letter to her parents recently, asking them not to worry about her. He read the letter to reporters outside the courtroom.
“I am in good health. Just pray. Don’t think about me too much. Keep healthy and pray at night. I have a lot of people helping me. The embassy officials always come to see me, my lawyers also. Don’t worry. Pray for me so that the case will be over soon and I can go back home. Send my love to my son Rio,”
North Korea says Kim Jong Nam likely died of a heart attack contrary to wide speculations that he was murdered by Kim Jong Un‘s authoritarian regime.
The New York Post reported that Nam’s glamorous lifestyle on Facebook may have cost him his life.