Malaysian police issue warrant for North Korean airline worker

Late, Kim Jong Nam

Malaysian Police on Friday issued a warrant of arrest for a North Korean airline employee, Kim Uk Il, 37, in connection to the killing of Kim Jong Nam, the report said.

It said that the accused, who reportedly works for Air Koryo, was named in the arrest warrant.

The Malaysia’s Immigration Department also said that another North Korean man, who was detained over the Feb. 13 killing, was released and would be deported to Pyongyang later in the day.

Police did not say why Ri Jong Chol, who was apprehended on Feb. 17, was being held.

The 47-year-old worked in an IT department in Kuala Lumpur wa seen on Friday wearing a bulletproof vest outside the Sepang police station while being escorted by police.

Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali had said on Thursday that Ri would be released due to “insufficient evidence.”

However, Ri’s family has gone into hiding.

“I don’t know where they [Ri’s family] went.

“His wife and children left in a hurry.

“We are still in shock over what happened,” a neighbour in Ri’s condominium said.

Ri graduated in 2011 from a North Korean university and previously worked for a research centre in India, The Star Online reported.

Malaysian officials condemned the alleged use of VX nerve agent in the killing, saying “its use at a public place could have endangered the general public.

“Malaysia does not produce, stockpile, import, export or use any … toxic chemicals including VX.

“Malaysia has fully cooperated with the organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and has complied entirely with all its obligations,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

On Wednesday, two women, one from Indonesia and one from Vietnam were charged with murder for allegedly poisoning Kim by rubbing VX nerve agent on his face at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport.

North Korean diplomat Ri Tong Il has insisted that Kim Jong Nam was not poisoned, noting that Kim had a history of high blood pressure and could have died of a heart attack.

Ri, Pyongyang’s former deputy ambassador to the UN had said on Thursday that samples of the toxic substance used in the attack should be sent to the OPCW for further evaluation.

The aftermath of the high-profile killing has strained diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and Kuala Lumpur.

Police are searching for a total of seven North Koreans believed to be linked to the killing, including a diplomat at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Police asked Interpol to issue an alert for four who fled Malaysia to Pyongyang on the day of Kim’s murder. The remaining three are thought to be in Malaysia.



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