Thursday 23rd November, 2017
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probe-into-kim-jong-nams-assassination-intensifies-malaysia-identifies-new-suspects

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - As the investigation related to the bizarre assassination of the Kim Jong Nam intensifies, now the Malaysian police have identified new suspects. 

Earlier, Interpol issued a "red notice" for four North Koreans wanted in connection with the case.

Malaysia’s National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said that the new suspects are in addition to the seven North Koreans already being sought in the assassination case.

Abu Bakar added that the new suspects include an "important person," but declined to share more details.

In a statement, he said, “I do not deny that there are more North Koreans involved in the murder of Kim Jong Nam. We will follow the legal channel to get them. I do not want to say more than that. If I do, they may run ... but we believe there is an important person too."

Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar earlier said, “We have obtained a red notice for the four North Korean nationals who were at the airport on the day of the incident and who have since left... we are hoping to get them through Interpol.”

The Interpol notice named 33-year-old Ri Ji Hyon, 34-year-old Hong Song Hac, 55-year-old O Jong Gil and 57-year-old Ri Jae Nam.

Investigators said they believe that three other suspects were hiding in North Korea's embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and have demanded that North Korea hand over suspects.

Abu Baker further added on Sunday, “We must first go after the four men against whom we have secured an Interpol red notice, (then) record statements from the trio who we believe are still in the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur.”

He pointed out that the police have no further need to detain Jong Nam's body, as they have already clarified the victim's identity and cause of death.

He further said he hopes for the cooperation of Pyongyang in surrendering the four North Korean suspects to assist in investigations.

He said, “We do not want to interfere in another country's political issues, but it is our responsibility to investigate a murder case which occurred within our jurisdiction. So I hope the North Koreans can facilitate in solving the murder case of Kim Jong Nam.” 

Diplomatic ties between the two formerly friendly nations, Malaysia and North Korea went downhill after the bizarre assassination of King Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, on February 12 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Tests of Kim's body had revealed the use of the deadly VX chemical agent, which points to Pyongyang's involvement in the attack, a charge North Korea has denied.

So far, as part of the investigation, two women – one Indonesian and one Vietnamese - have been arrested by authorities on the basis of CCTV footage and were subsequently charged with the murder of Nam. 

The two women - Siti Aishah, a 25-year-old from Jakarta, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, from rural northern Vietnam – could get the death sentence if they are convicted of killing Nam.

According to South Korea's spy agency, the North's isolated dictator had issued a "standing order" for his half-brother's assassination after coming to power, and there was even a failed attempt in 2012, in the wake of Kim Jong Nam's outspoken criticism of the authoritarian regime.

As South Korea and the U.S. continued to blame North Korea for masterminding the attack on Nam, North Korea barred Malaysians from leaving the country, sparking a similar action by Malaysia.

The Malaysian defence minister said earlier this week that talks between both the nations were underway.

North Korea meanwhile has strongly denied any role in the killing and has continued its demand that Malaysia turn over Kim Jong Nam's body.

Only last week, Malaysia finally formally identified the murder victim as Kim Jong Nam using DNA from one of his children.

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