A woman and two children pose for a photo as they visit the statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il to pay their respects on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong-il, at Mansudae Hill in Pyongyang on Thursday. Photo: AFP
The North Korean embassy in Malaysia has confirmed the identity of the North Korean man killed at Kuala Lumpur airport on Monday as Kim Jong-nam
, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
, as police nabbed a third suspect in connection with the murder.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Kim Jong-nam had travelled using an authentic North Korean passport issued under the name "Kim Chol," Malaysian news website The Star reported.
"The North Korean embassy has confirmed the identity. This is what the police informed us," the deputy prime minister told a press conference Thursday.
"We have looked into the possibility that it is a fake passport. I think he carries two different identities (passports)," he said.
Malaysian police Thursday detained a third suspect in connection with the murder of Kim Jong-nam, an officer said.
The third person, whose nationality was not disclosed, was the friend of an Indonesian woman who was detained earlier in the day in connection with the killing of Kim Jong-nam at the airport in the Malaysian capital on Monday, police said.
"He was detained to facilitate investigation as he is the boyfriend of the second suspect," Selangor state police chief Abu Samah Mat told Reuters.
The Indonesian woman was remanded in custody for seven days along with another woman, who held a Vietnamese travel document, who was caught trying to leave the country through the budget airline terminal of the Kuala Lumpur airport on Wednesday, the Bernama state news agency reported.
The Indonesian woman was alone when she was apprehended, police said. Her passport bore the name Siti Aishah, and gave her date of birth as February 11, 1992, and place of birth as Serang, Indonesia. The Indonesian foreign ministry said it had requested consular access to the woman.
The first suspect detained had travel documents in the name of Doan Thi Huong, with a birth date of May 1988 and birthplace of Nam Dinh, Vietnam.
Kim Jong-nam, 46, was assaulted at the same airport on Monday with what was believed to be a fast-acting poison as he was about to leave on a flight to Macao. He sought help, collapsed and died on his way to hospital.
North Korean silence
North Korea has made no public reference to Kim Jong-nam's death, and calls to the embassy in Malaysia went unanswered.
But a source in Beijing with ties to both the North Korean and Chinese governments told Reuters that North Korea was not involved in his killing, and had no motive.
"Kim Jong-nam has nothing to do with (North) Korea," the source said. "There is no reason for (North) Korea to kill him."
"(North) Korea is investigating," the source said when asked why there has been no public denial of involvement, adding that North Korea wanted the body returned.
There was also no mention of Kim Jong-nam's death in North Korean state media as of early Thursday.
At midnight on Wednesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to mark the birthday of his father, the late leader Kim Jong-il, who died in 2011.
Malaysian police said Kim Jong-nam had been at the airport to catch a flight to Macao on Monday when someone grabbed or held his face from behind, after which he felt dizzy and sought help at an information desk.
Malaysian authorities rebuffed North Korean officials' efforts to stop an autopsy being carried out on Kim Jong-nam, three Malaysian government sources familiar with the stand-off old Reuters.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, a Malaysian government leader said he believed the police had received a request from North Korean officials for the body, and it could be eventually handed to the North Korean embassy.
"After all the police and medical procedures are completed, we may release the body to the next of kin through the embassy," Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.