Four North Korean suspects were allegedly seen on CCTV watching the ‘assassination’ of Kim Jong-nam before changing their clothes in an airport toilet and fleeing the country
An international manhunt is under way for four North Koreans wanted in connection with the assassination of Kim Jong-un ’s brother, police said today.
Detectives named Ri Ji Hyon, 33, Hong So Hac, 34, O Jong Gil, 55, and Ri Jae Nam, 57, as suspects in the plot to kill Kim Jong-nam .
The latest twist in the murder of the ‘playboy prince’ came as a tragic final photo of him emerged – slumped in Kuala International Airport – showing him just minutes before he died from a ‘fast-acting’ poison.
His four countrymen were allegedly captured on CCTV in the budget airline terminal with Doan Thi Huong – the casino worker in a LOL (Laugh Out Loud) T-shirt – and masseuse Siti Aisyah the day before the attack.
After watching him being sprayed with a lethal liquid from a nearby food stand, they changed their clothes in an airport toilet before immediately flying out of the country.
It is believed they had been tracking Kim’s movements as he travelled between his home in Macau, Malaysia and Singapore.
Deputy Inspector-General of Malaysian Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim is also looking for Ri Ji U, known as James, 30, and two other North Koreans – so far unnamed – in connection with the murder.
Ri Jong Chol, 47 arrested in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, was described as a chemistry expert who had studied in North Korea.
‘LOL’ suspect Thi Huong, 28, arrived in Malaysia on Feb 4, while her alleged accomplice, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, landed two days earlier.
Aisyah’s mother claimed Siti was duped into believing she was part of a TV show. “She wanted to go to Malaysia for filming on a show to make people surprised by spraying perfume on somebody else,” said her mum, who uses the single name of Benah.
“She was offered a job by someone to become an advertisement model for perfume.”
The cause of Jong-nam’s death remains unclear. Malaysian authorities need a second postmortem, because the first was inconclusive. The results may not be known for weeks.
But North Korea has demanded the immediate return of the body as Jong-nam was travelling on their diplomatic passport. That has fuelled suspicion that Kim Jong-un had a role in the killing.
South Korea insists the tyrant, worried about his grip on power, had issued an order for the assassination in 2012.
His brother’s second wife, Lee Hye-kyong, son Kim Han-sol, 21 – who apparently turned down a place at Oxford over fears for his safety – and teenage daughter, Kim Sol-hui, are under police protection the Chinese gambling resort of Macau.
Lee Dong-seop, a friend of Jong-nam who lives there, described him as a good-hearted man who cried at a sad movie. “He was an unfortunate prince,” he said.