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North Korean arrested in Kim Jong Nam killing probe

A North Korean national has been arrested by Malaysian police in connection with the killing of Kim Jong Nam, brother of North Korea’s leader, as tensions flared between the two countries over the investigation.

Police on Saturday announced a fourth arrest in connection with the death of Mr Kim, whose face was smothered with a wet cloth in an apparent poisoning at Kuala Lumpur international airport on Monday.

Ri Jong Chol, 46, was arrested in Malaysia on Friday night, police said. He was carrying an “i-Kad”, a form of identification issued to foreign migrant workers in Malaysia.

He was detained following the arrest of a woman with a Vietnamese passport, a woman with an Indonesian passport and the latter’s Malaysian boyfriend. The two women were both arrested on the basis of CCTV footage at the airport.

According to Indonesian police, the Indonesian national, named as Siti Aishah, had been duped into participating in what she thought was a prank.

Indonesia’s national police chief, Tito Karnavian, told reporters the woman had previously been paid to perform stunts in which men were sprayed with water.

On Friday Pyongyang’s ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol, demanded the release of Mr Kim’s body “without delay.”

In a statement read to reporters in Kuala Lumpur, the ambassador said North Korea had attempted to block an autopsy. Malaysia had refused to let North Korean officials witness the post-mortem, the diplomat said.

Mr Chol accused Malaysia of being “in collusion with the hostile forces towards our republic”.

Malaysian authorities insist they will carry out an independent investigation into the killing.

The death of Kim Jong Un’s 46-year-old half-brother is widely believed to have been instigated by Pyongyang.

South Korean intelligence officials believe North Korea had been seeking to kill Kim for the past five years.

Kim was attacked while waiting to flight a board to Macau, where he lived under the protection of the Chinese government, according to South Korean officials.

Via FT