Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, was assassinated at the budget terminal of KLIA2 (Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2) by two women. Mr. Kim, travelling using a fake name – Kim Chol – to evade detection, had been sprayed with poison as he waited to board a flight back to Macau, where he was living in exile.
Kim Jong-nam, 46, collapsed in the shopping concourse at the airport on Monday and had not gone through immigration yet for his flight to Macau. Before he died, Mr. Kim told medical workers that he had been attacked with a chemical spray. Police officer Fadzil Ahmad said – “He felt dizzy, so he asked for help at the counter of KLIA.”
“One of the women was told to hold a handkerchief on the face of the victim after he’d been sprayed by the other woman. She held it there for 10 seconds. Kim suffered burns as a result of the liquid” – the police said. However, there were various versions to the story – one said a cloth laced with liquid was used while another claimed poison needle was used.
Both women then boarded a taxi, which was captured on CCTV. Interestingly, it was South Korean media who first identified the victim as Kim Jong-nam. The Malaysian authorities initially only reported the sudden death of an unnamed North Korean national who had fallen ill at the airport. Royal Malaysian Police finally confirmed that the victim was indeed the half-brother of North Korea’s leader.
Malaysian police confirmed one of the two women, Doan Thi Huon, 28, carrying a Vietnamese passport has been arrested at KLIA2 at 8.20am today (Wednesday). The Malaysian police, however, are still clueless as to why she had turned up at the airport. Earlier, police had arrested the taxi driver who ferried the two women, but was released after interrogation.
North Korean supremo Kim Jong-un is notorious for his brutality – has been ordering execution of officials who challenged his authority. Accused of showing disrespect to Kim by dozing off at a military event, Defence Minister Hyon Yong-Chol was ordered to be executed in front of hundreds of people by firing squad – with ZPU-4 “Anti-Aircraft” Machine Gun System.
The assassination of Kim Jong-nam comes at an interesting time as North Korea celebrated its latest ballistic missile launch, which foreign experts were analysing for evidence of advancement in the country’s missile capabilities. It could be the fear of a possible plan by Trump to replace Jong-un with Jong-nam through military means that had triggered the assassination.
However, the assassination at KLIA2 has sparked a new issue altogether – the safety of Malaysian airports. Known as a terrorism breeding ground, the country attracted worldwide attention for the wrong reason when Flight MH370 suddenly disappeared in 2014. The crisis had opened the Pandora box over Malaysian airports’ safety and security.
When the MH370 went missing, Malaysia Airlines initially claimed the plane disappeared from air traffic control radar in Subang Kuala Lumpur at 2:40 a.m., but Mr. Lindahl of Flightradar 24 said that the last radar contact had been at 1:19 a.m., less than 40 minutes after the flight began, suggesting the Malaysian authorities had no idea what happened during that 1-hour time frame.
While Prime Minister Najib Razak was hiding, the then-Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Defence and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein were contradicting each other on 2 passengers who later revealed to be imposters succeeded in boarding the flight MH370. Turned out, the Malaysia authorities didn’t cross-check stolen passports against Interpol’s database.
The most embarrassing part was when the Royal Malaysian Air Force was clueless on what had happened to MH370 despite possessing military radar recording. It would take 4 days after the MH370 disappearance for RMAF to establish the fact that flight MH370 had indeed made a turn-back? RMAF didn’t scramble jets to intercept MH370 simply because they were sleeping on the job.
In the same breath, how could Kim Jong-nam easily assassinated without raising any alarm at the airport, allowing the two assassins to easily escape? Sure, anyone could get killed at any international airport. It’s not like armed officers are stationed every 10 feets away. But shouldn’t there be a better security alert system in place to enforce checking at the exit point?
While the police have done a wonderful job in identifying and arresting one of the women before she could escape from KLIA2, they might not be so lucky if the assassin hadn’t been sloppy and dumb enough to be hanging around the same airport. She could easily escape through sea to Thailand. What if the assassination had been a terrorist attack carried out by ISIS instead?
Here’s an interesting question – why did the assassins choose to kill Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia but not Macau, mainland China or Singapore? Could it due to the fact that Malaysian airports have the worst security of all? The point is – bad guys or gals would think twice about committing crimes if airport security forces – armed with machine guns and police dogs – are visible.
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