Archive for North Korea
A North Korean suspect in the killing of Kim Jong-nam is reportedly the son of a former top North Korean envoy to Vietnam, and he allegedly lured a Vietnamese female suspect to join the plot to kill the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader. Ri Ji Hyon, 33, is the son of former North Korean ambassador to Hanoi, Ri Hong, and had lived in Vietnam for about 10 years, Yonhap news agency quoted sources as saying on Wednesday. Ji Hyon worked as a trainee diplomat at the North Korean embassy for more than one year and he also worked as an interpreter, according to the sources. Using his fluent Vietnamese, he lured Doan Thi Huong into the plot to kill Jong-nam while the latter was waiting to board a flight to Macau at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Feb 13, according to Yonhap. The Vietnamese woman and Indonesian Siti Aisyah allegedly smeared banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent on Jong-nam’s face. They have been charged with murder but they claim they were told that the act was a prank on a reality show. Ji Hyon is among four North Korean suspects who left Malaysia on the day Jong-nam was murdered and they are believed to have returned to Pyongyang. Interpol has issued a red notice to track down and arrest them.
Scenes of local and foreign pressmen waiting outside the North Korean embassy to catch embassy officials for comments related to the murder of Kim Jong-nam is slowly diminishing. Pressmen feel there is no reason to wait outside the embassy because none of the embassy staff or its spokesman Ri Tong-il had issued any statements or talked to the media since Feb 18.
The North Korean Embassy counsellor in Malaysia Kim Yu Song asked the media not to take pictures of him putting bins in front of the embassy. Yu Song, who speaks Malay fluently, said the media should ask permission in advance if they wanted to take pictures of him. “This is not good news. No need to publish them in the newspapers, understand? Don’t … don’t take. ‘If we agree on you taking our pictures, you must ask me, okay?” he told the media in front of the embassy here. Bernama photographer Zulfadhli Zulkarnain who was on duty when queried by Yu Song explained to him that they were just doing their job. Some local and International media practitioners who gathered in front the embassy did not miss the chance to take pictures of Yu Song together with two men carrying out a sofa to be disposed in front of the premises. The North Korean Embassy located in Bukit Damansara has become the focus of the media since the murder of Kim Jong Nam last month. Kuala Lumpur-Pyongyang relations were strained following the murder of Jong Nam, half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.
A North Korean diplomat says the killing of a man confirmed by Malaysian police to be the half brother of North Korea’s leader was a political conspiracy engineered by Washington and Seoul. Pak Myong Ho, a minister at North Korea’s embassy in Beijing, said Thursday the killing in Malaysia last month was a “despicable and extremely dangerous” plot by the U.S. and South Korea aimed at smearing North Korea’s image and subverting its regime. Pak said “indiscriminate claims of behind-the-scenes manipulation” would fail, referring to allegations by South Korea’s spy agency that North Korea masterminded the assassination. North Korea has demanded that Malaysia hand over the body and objected when it conducted an autopsy. It also has refused to acknowledge that the victim was the half brother of its leader.
The police believe two North Korean men wanted to assist investigations into the murder of Kim Jong-nam are still within the North Korean embassy’s compound in Bukit Damansara, here. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar who confirmed the matter to Bernama News Channel (BNC) through a WhatsApp message said the two men were the North Korean Embassy’s second secretary, Hyon Kwang-song, 44, and North Korean airline Air Koryo’s staff, Kim Uk-il, 37. When asked why the police did not raid the embassy to arrest the two men, Khalid said the police had to respect the Vienna Convention which protected the embassy grounds through diplomatic immunity and could not be compromised. He said an arrest warrant had already been issued for Uk-il last week, while the secretary had immunity from being arrested.
A few pieces of computer hardware were dumped outside the North Korean embassy this morning. Three laptops and a desktop computer found outside the embassy building, in Jalan Batai, Kuala Lumpur, were however, found to have been stripped of their hard disk drives. The laptops and desktop looked damaged, and were believed to have been thrown out with some flowers, flower stands, a speaker and other usual household rubbish during the early morning hours today. Meanwhile, police continue to monitor the embassy where they believe two suspects linked to the killing of Kim Jong Nam, who is the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, are in hiding. The two men were previously named by Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar as being the embassy’s second secretary Hyon Kwang Song, 44, and Air Koryo employee Kim Uk Il, 37. The police have since issued a warrant of arrest for Uk-il and a letter requesting Hyon’s cooperation was sent through Wisma Putra and delivered to the embassy. Last week, Khalid also said there is a third suspect, whose name is Ri Ji U, but who goes by the alias James. There is little known about him other than that he was the one who had first approached the two women charged with the murder of Jong Nam on Feb 13.
A sullen silence has swept over the North Korean Embassy here today, despite heavy media presence outside its gates. Activity on the inside of the embassy seems to be still, despite one or two vehicles seen leaving the premises. Today marks the 23rd day since Kim Jong-nam, the step brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, was murdered while waiting to catch a flight to Macau at klia2. Since then, diplomatic ties between Malaysia and North Korea has been set on a knife edge, with the latter blaming Malaysia’s wrongly in handling the case and for conspiring with its enemies. North Korean officials here, however, are keeping mum. Some armed and regular policemen were stationed outside the embassy but they made no attempt to stop anyone from leaving and entering the embassy. Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan said on Tuesday that the embassy will be sealed till authorities have physically identified those dwelling in the premises. IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar also said yesterday that at least two suspects in the nerve agent murder of Kim Jong-nam are holed up in North Korea’s barricaded embassy in Kuala Lumpur and police would wait as long as necessary to arrest them. Malaysia also said it would keep its embassy open in Pyongyang and not sever diplomatic ties with North Korea to resolve their diplomatic stand- off peacefully.