An Indonesian woman, who was arrested as a suspect involved in the killing of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s half-brother in Malaysia, was led to believe that her role was part of a comedy prank show, according to recent reports. The information comes from Indonesia’s national police chief, who cited information that was received from Malaysian authorities. Malaysian police then said on Saturday that they had arrested a North Korean man in connection with the murder.
The man that was arrested on Friday night in Selangor state has been identified as Ri Jong Chol, born in 1970, according to a police statement, and is now the fourth suspect to be arrested. Tito Karnavian, Indonesia’s national police chief, told reporters in Indonesia’s Aceh province that the Indonesian woman, Siti Aisyah, 25, was paid to be involved in pranks, including performing stunts involving convincing men to close their eyes whilst she sprays them with water. Karnavian said, “Such an action was done three or four times and they were given a few dollars for it, and with the last target, Kim Jong-nam, allegedly there were dangerous materials in the sprayer. She was not aware that it was an assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents.” Aisyah’s boyfriend has also been arrested by police, whilst they are still hunting for other alleged accomplices.
The authorities are currently carrying out an investigation into whether Siti and another female suspect killed the 46-year-old North Korean exile in a shopping concourse at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport on Monday. Although two autopsies were conducted on Kim’s body because the first was inconclusive, North Korea’s ambassador in Malaysia demanded that the body should be released immediately, and said that his country would reject the results of a postmortem. Kang Chol said, “The Malaysian side forced the postmortem without our permission and witnessing, we will categorically reject the result of the postmortem conducted unilaterally excluding our attendance.” Chol also added that the Malaysian police were being pressured by hostile forces, including South Korea, and claimed that the postmortem was a violation of human rights.
Reports claim that the second female suspect who was seen on airport CCTV, stayed at a hotel close to the airport during the days leading up to the attack. She reportedly booked the cheapest room and carried a bundle of cash, according to a receptionist who spoke to Reuters. During her stay in the area she moved accommodation twice, and borrowed a pair of scissors from the front desk on the evening before the attack, according to the hotel employees. A member of the hotel’s housekeeping staff also said that they found hair on the floor and in the bin the next day.
Diplomats from the North Korean embassy have shown a deep interest in the case, however the North Korean media have not made any reference to the death. People close to him say that he has long been targeted by his half-brother, Kim Jong-un, according to reports. The cause of death is still being investigated and will be confirmed by police in a statement.