Malaysians held in NoKor return home

Posted April 01, 2017

North Korea still refuses to accept Malaysian authorities' confirmation that the deceased is indeed Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Hyon Kwang-song, the second secretary of the North Korean Embassy in Malaysia, and Kim Uk-il, an employee of Air Koryo, were believed to hiding in the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur after police named them as suspects.

Although details of what led to the agreement were not released, it gave North Korea custody of Mr Kim's body and allowed Malaysia to question the three men who were hiding in the embassy.

That view is backed up by South Korean and United States officials, who see them as pawns in an operation carried out by North Korean agents.

The equally freaky saga in Malaysia came to a head Thursday night with a political deal that allowed nine Malaysians in North Korea to return home.

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Malaysian prosecutors have charged an Indonesian and a Vietnamese national, both women, in killing Kim Jong Nam.

On Friday, Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters that a criminal investigation into the case of the DPRK man's death is still ongoing even after both sides freed each other's nationals. Malaysia on Thursday agreed to release the body of Kim Jong-nam.

While the two suspects were arrested by the Malaysian authorities, suspicions of other North Korean agents' involvement remained. Police chief Khalid said the North Korean embassy had at first confirmed the identity, but changed its stance the next day.

South Korean politicians claimed Kim Jong Un had issued a "standing order" for his half-brother's assassination and there was a failed attempt in 2012.

Malaysian police had previously said two female suspects, one Indonesian and one Vietnamese, together with four DPRK suspects, carried out the February 13 attack on the DPRK man at the airport.

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The return of the body was followed by the repatriation of nine Malaysian nationals, who arrived in their home country on Friday, according to the New Straits Times and Channel News Asia.

"The body of the DPRK citizen who died in Malaysia and relevant DPRK citizens have returned to the DPRK today via Beijing", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a press briefing and using the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, reported the BBC News.

However, Malaysian police used a DNA sample to establish the victim was Kim Jong-nam.

The Prime Minister was on a six-day official visit to India, and would proceed to New Delhi later this evening.

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