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Friday, May 26, 2017

Did Jong Nam meet US spy in Langkawi before his murder?

Report says Jong Nam met a Korean-American several times in Malaysia and the two had met again just days before his murder, giving rise to speculation that he was killed over this
Kim Jong Nam, whose murder here set off a diplomatic row between North Korea and Malaysia, apparently met a suspected US intelligence agent four days before he was killed.

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reported recently that Malaysian investigation authorities were considering this as one of the possible reasons behind “Pyongyang’s decision to silence him”.

Quoting “investigative authorities and acquaintances” of Jong Nam, the report said he arrived alone in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 6 from Macau, where he was living in exile with his family.

On Feb 9, Kim stayed at a hotel on Langkawi island, where security cameras showed him meeting a middle-aged Korean-American based in Bangkok, it said. They parted two hours later.

The Asahi Shimbun report said Malaysian investigators had been tailing the American every time he entered Malaysia, suspecting that he had links with a US intelligence agency.

The man, it said, had entered Malaysia on the same day that Jong Nam had arrived in the country and that the two had met in Malaysia several times in the past.

The report said an analysis of Jong Nam’s notebook computer showed that a USB memory stick had been inserted into the PC, leading to suspicion that he might have “handed over a large volume of information he was not able to convey orally”.

Jong Nam returned to Kuala Lumpur on the evening of Feb 12 and he was murdered the following day at the concourse of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2.

The report said the US citizen left Malaysia the same day, too.

It added that investigators suspected that North Korea’s secret police had gotten wind of Jong Nam’s activities and that might have led to his death.

Two women, a Vietnamese and an Indonesian, who allegedly wiped Jong Nam’s face with a substance identified from an autopsy as the banned deadly VX nerve agent, were charged with murder on March 1. Jong Nam died within 20 minutes of the attack.

It made world news and resulted in tension and a diplomatic row between Putrajaya and Pyongyang. North Korea refused to allow nine Malaysians at the embassy to leave the country until the body of Jong Nam was handed over.

Putrajaya, in a tit-for-tat action, also disallowed North Koreans at the embassy here from leaving.
Finally, Putrajaya had to accede to the demands of the North Koreans in exchange for the safe return of the Malaysians. - FMT

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