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Malaysia police: Women 'rehearsed attack on Kim'

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M'sia police chief says they practised at Pavilion and KLCC

KUALA LUMPUR: Did the two women arrested over the killing of the North Korean leader's half-brother, Mr Kim Jong Nam, know they were dealing with poison?

Yes, say the Malaysian police, citing video evidence showing one of the women heading to the toilet to clean her hands.

No, says the North Korean embassy, because if the poison was so lethal, the women would be dead.

Mr Kim, 46, was killed at the airport on Feb 13 after two women smeared his face with a poisonous liquid.

Malaysia's Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed that leaked closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage from Kuala Lumpur International Airport was real.

He said the footage showed one woman moving away after the attack with her hands held up away from her body, going "towards the washroom".

"So she knew very well that it is toxic and she has to wash her hands," he said.

Mr Khalid revealed the team had several "trial runs" prior to the assassination, reported the New Straits Times.

He said: "We strongly believe this is a planned effort and they have been trained to do what they did. (In fact) they have rehearsed the attack at Pavilion and KLCC before they did it on the victim.

"This is not shooting an action movie," he said in a press conference, after reports emerged claiming the suspects believed it was a prank.

He said the two were given the liquid by four North Korean men, who have since fled to Pyongyang. The Indonesian woman, Siti Aisyah, 25, attacked first, followed by the Vietnamese woman, Doan Thi Huong, 28.

This has been disputed by the North Korean embassy, and it is asking for the release of three detained suspects, including its citizen Ri Jong Chol, reported The Star.

"It has been 10 days since the incident, but Malaysian police have not found any evidence from them," the embassy said in a statement yesterday.

The statement added that it was not possible for the women to daub poison on Mr Kim's face with their hands.

"Malaysia has been conducting the investigation based on CCTV footage that was released to the public, (showing) that the female suspects had daubed the poison on the victim's face with their own hands.

"Then how is it possible that these female suspects could be alive after the incident? This means the liquid they daubed… is not poison, and there is another cause of death," it said.

After the attack, Mr Kim, 46, told airport staff he felt unwell and later died on the way to a hospital.

The two women, who were picked up last week, have had their remand orders extended for another week.

Ri, 46, has been in Malaysia on a work visa since 2013.

Siti Aisyah's Malaysian boyfriend, Muhammad Farid Jalaluddin, 26, who was arrested to assist in investigations, will be released on police bond.

The North Korean embassy made no mention of two other people of interest, the second secretary at the embassy in Malaysia and an employee of Air Koryo, reported the Star.

It also expressed dissatisfaction with how Malaysian authorities have conducted the case, claiming it was "extremely insulting" to the sovereignty of North Korea.

It claimed Malaysia's actions had infringed international laws and customs, and displayed "clear evidence that Malaysia takes sides with the South Korean allegations". - WIRE SERVICES

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