KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign agents could have been behind the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Malaysian Federal Police Special Branch Director Fuzi Harun told Channel NewsAsia on Thursday (Feb 16).
"We cannot rule out the possibility," he said. "They could have been working on him for quite some time."
However, Fuzi added that this was just one of several possibilities. He said his department was cooperating with other relevant agencies in this investigation but the Criminal Investigation Department was taking the lead.
Malaysia's deputy prime minister Zahid Hamidi also said the North Korean embassy confirmed for the first time on Thursday that the North Korean man found dead at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday - who had "Kim Chol" written on his travel documents - was Kim Jong Nam.
North Korean embassy has confirmed that Kim CHOL is Kim Jong Nam . He carries two passports : DPM Zahid speaking to media for first time pic.twitter.com/aORLPWofzM— Melissa Goh (@MelGohCNA) February 16, 2017
According to Malaysian police, the eldest son of former leader Kim Jong-il sought help when he felt dizzy after feeling someone grabbing or holding his face from behind. Intelligence chiefs in South Korea have said that female agents dispatched by their secretive northern neighbour administered the lethal dose, with reports suggesting a toxin was sprayed in his face.
Hamidi added that the assassination will not affect ties between the two countries.
When asked by a reporter whether the killing would effect their diplomatic relationship, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said: "No. We maintain and we would like to strengthen our relationship with any foreign country that has established their embassy here."
North Korea has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, while Malaysia has an embassy in Pyongyang.
Two women - carrying travel documents from Vietnam and Indonesia - have been detained in connection with the case. The Indonesian suspect's boyfriend, a Malaysian man, has also been arrested.