North Korean suspect is a chemistry expert

Feb 19, 2017
Kim Jong-nam. - AP file photo.
Kim Jong-nam. – AP file photo.

A North Korean arrested over the assassination of Kim Jong-nam has expertise in chemistry, reported The Star Online.

Jong-nam was the half-brother North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The news portal reported that the man, Ri Jong-chol, from Pyongyang, had graduated in the science and medicine field from a university in North Korea in 2000.

“Some 10 years later he was involved in research at a centre in Kolkata, India, until 2011,” said the portal.

It also quoted sources as saying that Jong-chol returned to Pyongyang before he got an offer from an IT company based in Malaysia.

“It is still too early to conclude that he is behind the liquid poison believed to have been used to kill Jong-nam thus investigation is still underway.

“He is also being quizzed on the whereabouts of three other accomplices, who are still at large,” a source was quoted as saying.

The 45-year-old Jong-nam was killed by two women who splashed his face with a chemical at the KLIA2 departure hall at about 9am on Monday. He was about to leave for Macau.

The portal also reported that Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said the 47-year-old suspect was detained at about 9.50pm on Friday.

“Based on an i-KAD that he has in his possession, the suspect is identified as with date of birth on May 6, 1970, and a citizen of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK),” he said in a statement.

The suspect, it is learnt, was arrested after a police raid at a condominium in Jalan Kuchai Lama.

He has been remanded for seven days until Friday.

“It is learnt that the suspect often travelled in and out of Malaysia and has been in the country for at least a year,” said the portal.

So far, three others have been detained.

They include Indonesian Siti Aisyah and her boyfriend, who was picked up by police to assist with investigations.

The first suspect, who holds a Vietnamese passport bearing the name Doan Thi Huong, was arrested at KLIA2 on Wednesday as she was preparing to board a flight to Vietnam.

A manhunt has been mounted by the police for three more suspects, aged between 30 and 50.

Meanwhile, representatives from the North Korean embassy were seen at the Sepang district police headquarters (IPD) yesterday evening.

They are believed to have gone to gain access to Jong-chol.