Asia

Kim Jong-nam murder: Police seek pair to testify at murder trial

Kim Jong-nam pictured getting off a bus at Narita airport near Tokyo Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Kim Jong-nam, pictured in 2001, the late half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Malaysian police are seeking two Indonesian women they want to testify at the trial of those accused of killing Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

Local media named the potential witnesses as Raisa Rinda Salma, 24, and Dessy Meyrisinta, 33.

Kim Jong-nam died at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017, after toxic VX nerve agent was rubbed on his face.

Two women are being tried for his murder.

They are Siti Aisyah from Indonesia and Doan Thi Houng from Vietnam.

Both have pleaded not guilty, saying they thought they were carrying out a prank for a reality TV show, and did not know the colourless, odourless VX was harmful.

Police have urged anyone who knows the two new named witnesses to contact Sepang district police.

Image copyright Reuters/AFP
Image caption Doan Thi Huong (left) and Siti Aisyah (right) say they were tricked by North Korean agents into carrying out the killing

Defence lawyers say the two women accused of murder had been paid to take part in similar tricks at airports, hotels and shopping malls in the days before Kim's death.

A lawyer representing Siti Aisyah previously told a court in Malaysia that she had been paid 4,000 Malaysian ringgit (£730, $1,020) by a North Korean to fly to Macau, where Kim was reportedly living in self-imposed exile.

The two women face death by hanging if they are found guilty.

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Media captionThe BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes retraces Kim Jong-nam's last steps

Pyongyang has denied any involvement in the murder, but four men - believed to be North Koreans who fled Malaysia on the day of the killing - have also been charged in the case. They remain at large despite an Interpol "red notice", equivalent to an international arrest warrant.

Kim Jong-nam was largely estranged from his family, after being bypassed as heir to the North Korean leadership in favour of his younger half-brother. He spent most of his time overseas in Macau, mainland China and Singapore.

He had spoken out in the past against his family's dynastic control of North Korea and in a 2012 book was quoted as saying he believed his half-brother lacked leadership qualities.

The accused women are scheduled to present their defence at Malaysia's Shah Alam High Court between November 2018 and February 2019.

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