KUALA LUMPUR / AP
Malaysian authorities on Thursday announced the second and third arrests in the death of the North Korean leader’s half brother, whose apparent assassination this week unleashed tales of spectacular intrigue: a pair of women assailants, a broad-daylight killing and a dictator-sibling out for blood.
But investigators were still piecing together details of the case, which hinges in part on speculation that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dispatched a hit squad to kill his estranged half brother, who loved gambling and casinos and lived abroad for years, knowing he was a hunted man. The three suspects — two women and a man — were picked up separately on Wednesday and early Thursday. The women were identified using closed-circuit TV footage from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where Kim Jong Nam, who was 45 or 46, suddenly fell ill Monday morning.
He died on the way to the hospital, after telling medical workers at the airport that he had been sprayed with a chemical, said two senior Malaysian government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive diplomatic issues involved.
Multiple South Korean media reports, citing unidentified sources, said two women believed to be North Korean agents killed him with some kind of poison before fleeing in a taxi.
One of the women suspects had Vietnamese travel documents and was picked up Wednesday at the budget terminal of the airport, the very place where the alleged attack took place. The other woman held an Indonesian passport and was arrested early Thursday. Police said they were working to determine if the IDs were genuine. It was not immediately clear if the women, both in their 20s according to the IDs, were believed to be the alleged assassins. A still photo of the airport CCTV video, confirmed as authentic by police, showed one of the suspects in T-shirt with “LOL” across the front.
News of the third arrest came Thursday afternoon. Police said they had detained a Malaysian man who was believed to be the boyfriend of the suspect carrying an Indonesian passport.