Kim Jong Nam murder: Malaysian prosecutors focus on two women
KUALA LUMPUR - Reuters
One month into the trial of the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, Malaysian prosecutors have focused on two accused women, but have shed no light on four prime North Korean suspects.
Historically close ties between North Korea and Malaysia unravelled as the Southeast Asian country started investigating the alleged murder of Kim Jong Nam, who died after the two women smeared his face with VX, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala
Lumpur airport on Feb. 13.
Their photos and passport details were widely distributed among media organisations.
But as the trial enters its fourth week, prosecutors have yet to name the four men or even confirm their North Korean
origin in court.
The case's lead police investigator, Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz, has referred to the suspects only by their pseudonyms during the trial and said that authorities did not have enough information to trace and arrest them.
"Based on my investigation, the suspects used assumed names and there were no identifying details such as passport numbers or telephone numbers," Wan Azirul told the court.
"The question of who (the victim) is related to is only relevant when trying to determine the motive, but it's up to the prosecutors if they want to avoid having to prove a conspiracy involving the head of state of a foreign government," Shad Saleem Faruqi, a law professor at the Kuala Lumpur-based University of Malaya said.
"The broader you cast the net, the more difficult your job becomes," he added.
Three North Koreans wanted for questioning over the killing were allowed to return home, along with Kim Jong Nam's body, while nine Malaysians barred from leaving Pyongyang were released.
'Grandpa' orchestrated it
Defence lawyers have said Siti Aisyah and Huong, who were arrested in Kuala Lumpur within days of the killing, were duped
into thinking they were playing a prank for a reality TV show and did not know they were poisoning Kim Jong Nam.
Hanamori, who went by the names of "Grandpa" and "Uncle" orchestrated the operation at the airport, Wan Azirul said.
Mr. Chang and Mr. Y had applied liquid on the women's hands, Wan Azirul said.
The trial resumes on Monday when more CCTV footage is expected to be shown. The defence team is expected to focus more on the four North Koreans, when the judge calls it to present its case.
The two women face a mandatory death sentence by hanging iffound guilty.