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Man With North Korean Passport Arrested in Connection With Killing of Kim Jong Nam -- 2nd Update

18 Feb 2017 7:10 am
By Yantoultra Ngui and Ben Otto 

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Malaysian police said they have arrested another person--a North Korean man--in connection with the killing this week of Kim Jong Nam, half brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

The man was identified as 46-year-old Ri Jong Chol, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement.

Mr. Ri was arrested late Friday night during a raid on a condominium not far from downtown Kuala Lumpur after police received information from two women arrested earlier this week for their alleged involvement in the killing, Selangor Police Chief Abdul Samah Mat said.

"We are searching for a few more," he said.

Mr. Ri is the fourth person arrested in connection with the killing of 45-year-old Kim Jong Nam on Monday morning at the international airport here. Kim Jong Nam had been preparing to fly back to his home in Macau after having visiting Malaysia for just over a week, authorities said.

Malaysian police have also arrested a woman with an Indonesian passport, another who was carrying a Vietnamese passport and a man police said was the Indonesian woman's boyfriend. Investigators were looking into the planning of the killing under the theory that assassins may have been hired to carry it out, a senior police official has said.

Kim Jong Nam was killed in a public and well-lighted departures hall at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport as he was set to board an AirAsia flight to Macau.

Authorities have said he was approached by two women who attacked him with a wet cloth or an aerosol spray. He died en route to the hospital, authorities said.

Indonesian officials said the Indonesian woman, identified as 25-year-old Siti Aisyah, claimed she had been duped into thinking she was part of a comedy show prank.

Indonesian police chief Tito Karnavian, citing information from Interpol and Malaysian police, told reporters Friday that Ms. Aisyah "did not realize it was an assassination attempt," but instead had been under the impression she was shooting video for a "Just for Laughs"-style prank show.

He said she claimed to have participated in such pranks at least three to four times before the incident involving Kim Jong Nam.

"Chances are she was used," Mr. Karnavian said.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla said he believed Ms. Aisyah was "a victim of some sort of manipulation or fraud."

North Korea's ambassador to Malaysia said Friday that South Korea was trying to distort public opinion and politicize the incident. "We will respond strongly to the moves of the hostile forces toward us with their intent to besmirch the image of our republic," Ambassador Kang Chol said.

South Korea didn't immediately respond to the statement.

The North Korean ambassador angrily demanded that the hospital return Mr. Kim's body, but authorities have said that they will release the body to next of kin and that, so far, none had come forward.

Write to Yantoultra Ngui at yantoultra.ngui@wsj.com and Ben Otto at ben.otto@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 18, 2017 02:10 ET (07:10 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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