Many restraints in probe into Kim Chol’s murder case, court told

SHAH ALAM: The High Court here yesterday was told that there were many restraints in the investigation into the murder case of the elder brother of North Korean leader, Kim Chol or Kim Jong-nam, as the case involved an international issue.

Senior Investigating Officer of the Sepang/KLIA District Police Headquarters Assistant Superintendent Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz said the restraints included not getting the cooperation of the North Korean embassy and the application for permission to interview witnesses from superior officers.

“In this case which involved international issues, there were many restraints for me to carry out investigation. So, for any action to be taken, I had to refer to my superior officers beforehand,” he said when cross-examined by counsel Gooi Soon Seng, on the 14th day of proceedings on the case of Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong , 28, who are accused with four others who are still at large, of killing Kim Chol, 45, at the Klia2 departure hall at 9am on Feb 13.

The ninth witness said this when responding to a question from Gooi who is representing Siti Aisyah, who asked why the witness did not interview other important witnesses including two other suspects namely Ri Ji U or known as James, and Chel Su who is alleged to be an individual from the North Korean embassy.

Chel Su was said to have asked another suspect, Ri Jong-chol, to use his name to purchase a Naza Ria multipurpose vehicle on behalf of the embassy in October 2016, which was five months before the murder case of Kim Chol.

When asked by Gooi whether the witness had made an application to interview Ji U and Chel Su, he said he had made an application verbally to his officer, namely, Selangor Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief, SAC Fadzil Ahmat but he only received a reply ‘tunggu arahan lanjut’ (wait for further instruction).

Earlier in the morning’s proceedings, the court was told that three male suspects in the Kim Chol murder case who are still at large, had left Malaysia and transited in several countries before returning to Pyongyang in North Korea.

Three male North Korean suspects namely Hong Song Hac, known as Mr Chang, Ri Ji Hyon known as Mr Y and Ri Jae Nam known by the name of Hanamori had departed from KLIA on a flight to Jakarta, Indonesia on Feb 13, 2017 before going to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and to Vladivostok in Russia before returning to Pyongyang.

“The three individuals had left Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta using Lion Air, and from Jakarta to Dubai on an Emirates Airline flight,” suggested Gooi, but Wan Azirul Nizam said he was not certain about the suggestion made by Gooi.

Wan Azirul Nizam also stated ‘tidak pasti’  (uncertain) regarding the suggestion by Gooi that all the countries that all the three suspects, who are still at large, had transited in had diplomatic relations with North Korea.

To a suggestion by Gooi that another suspect, O Jong Gil, also known as James is said to have taken a flight to Cambodia and subsequently to Bangkok, Thailand before proceeding to North Korea,  the investigating officer also replied, ‘tidak pasti’ (uncertain).

In his earlier statement, the witness had told the court that there were two men, who had assisted the four suspects still at large to leave this country on the same day after the incident when Kim Chol was attacked with the nerve agent VX at the Klia2, on Feb 13.

Regarding the statement by Wan Azirul Nizam, Gooi put it to the witness that the two men were Kim Uk-il  who was an employee of Air Koryo airline and Hyon Kwang Song who was the Second Secretary at the North Korean embassy who was hiding in the embassy building after the police had issued a warrant of arrest for them.

In addition, Gooi had also suggested that the two individuals be exchanged for nine Malaysian nationals who were detained at the Malaysian Embassy in North Korea but all the suggestions by the counsel were disagreed to by the witness.

On March 1, Siti Aisyah and Doan were charged together with the four others who are still at large of killing Kim Chol, 45, at the Departure Lounge of Klia2 under Section 302 of the Penal Code which provides for the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

The trial before Justice Datuk Azmi Ariffin continues today. — Bernama

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