Kuala Lumpur – Two more people, including a North Korean diplomat, are wanted for questioning in connection with last week’s killing of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Malaysian police said Wednesday.
The diplomat is said to be a senior official in the North Korean embassy, police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told a press conference.
The other person being sought is a North Korean airline worker with Air Koryo, said Khalid, adding that both suspects are believed to still be in Malaysia.
“We have written to the North Korean ambassador [asking him] to allow us to interview them … If not, we will compel them to come to us,” the police chief said.
The Vietnamese and Indonesian women who allegedly carried out the February 13 poisoning attack against Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport had conducted practice sessions in local shopping malls, Khalid said.
“They were trained to swab the [victim’s] face and they knew [the substance] was toxic,” he said.
“I think you have seen the video, right? The lady was moving away with her hands towards the bathroom,” Khalid added, referring to the leaked CCTV footage that appears to show the incident.
The North Korean embassy dismissed that version of the story on Wednesday, issuing a statement calling on Malaysia to “immediately release the innocent females … as well as a [North Korean] citizen who was arrested unreasonably.”
The statement questioned how the suspects could have handled deadly poison with their bare hands without harming themselves.
Four people have been arrested in connection with the killing, but one of them, the boyfriend of the Indonesian woman, was set to be released on Wednesday, Khalid said.
The two female suspects would be remanded for another seven days.
The police chief also said that someone had tried to break into the morgue where Kim Jong Nam’s body is reportedly being held, prompting additional security measures to be taken.
Reports that Kim Jong Nam’s son had arrived in Malaysia to identify the body were only rumours, Khalid said.
“No family member has come forward,” he said.
Malaysian police believe that four North Koreans who left Malaysia on the day of the killing have returned to Pyongyang, Khalid said.
“We would request the North Korean authorities help us in tracing them and hand them over to us, for us to continue our investigation,” he said.
Malaysia has also requested that North Korean authorities provide investigators with a DNA sample from a family member of the deceased to help formally identify the body.