CCTV footage that appears to capture the fatal attack on Kim Jong Nam at a Malaysian airport does not show an Indonesian defendant interacting with the victim, a chief investigator acknowledged under cross examination Thursday.
The recording showed contact between Kim and another person, but not with Indonesian Siti Aisyah, police investigator Wan Azirul Nizam Wan Aziz testified. The detective was responding to questions from the attorney for Siti, one of two women charged with murdering the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in a nerve agent attack on Feb. 13, 2017.
Siti and co-defendant Doan Thi Huong, 29, of Vietnam, are standing trial at the Shah Alam High Court near Kuala Lumpur over allegations they smeared VX nerve agent on Kim’s face at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, after receiving training from North Koreans who later fled Malaysia.
Presenting the footage in court, defense lawyer Gooi Soon Seng said it showed a woman in a white shirt who appeared to be in contact with Kim at the time of the attack.
“The CCTV footage did not show anyone else and Siti Aisyah, my client, was not wearing a white shirt,” Gooi told the court.
In response, Wan Azirul testified that there was no clear footage of Siti putting anything on Kim. He testified that investigators had not found any traces of the nerve agent in airport bathrooms used by the suspects after the attack, and no trace of Siti’s DNA was detected on the victim’s body, his clothes or belongings. In addition, none of Kim’s DNA was found on Siti, her clothes and belongings.
“So these findings prove that these two people were not in contact,” Gooi said.
The attorney has been questioning Wan Azirul over several court sessions since Jan. 22. Doan’s lawyers will begin their own cross examination after he finishes. The trial is to resume next week.
“There is no iota of evidence pointing to the fact that Siti Aisyah was involved in the attack.” Gooi told reporters after the court session.
Earlier in court, Gooi said Siti had celebrated her birthday with friends at the Hard Rock Cafe on the night before the attack and went shopping at a Kuala Lumpur mall after leaving the airport.
“If she knew she was carrying out a crime, why didn’t she flee?” Gooi asked reporters.
Gooi was able to get the investigator to agree there was a gap between 8:59 a.m. and 9:06 a.m. when Kim could not be located on CCTV footage until he reemerged to lodge a complaint with airport staff about the attack.
“Where was Kim Jong Nam? Did he go to the toilet? Did he wash himself? What was he doing? Was he in contact with anyone else before he lodged his report with the staffs at the counter,” Gooi told reporters.
The two women have claimed they were misled into believing that they were participating in a prank for a TV show.
In previous court sessions, Wan Azirul testified that a North Korean national identified as James (alias Ri Ji U) had paid Siti to perform pranks at a Kuala Lumpur mall. James has since fled the country.
On Thursday, Gooi read a posting by Siti on Facebook dated Feb. 7, 2017 – less than a week before Kim was killed. “Last day shooting. Hopefully given more responsibility and may my contract continue. [Amen], even though the body aches, the spirit is still high.”
The court examined documents to confirm that Siti had traveled to Cambodia on Jan. 21, 2017, on a trip paid for by James as a reward for her previous performances.
“We have established that Siti Aisyah was asked to do pranks in Cambodia, where for the first time she was introduced to a guy by the name of Chang, who is also known as Hong Song Hac,” Gooi said.
After returning to Malaysia, Siti met with Chang and performed pranks at the airport on four occasions leading up to the attack. “We were able to establish that in those pranks Siti Aisyah was given baby oil and she was asked to wash her hands afterward,” Gooi told the court.
In addition, Chang had told Siti to travel to Macau for a prank on Feb. 9, 2017, but the trip was called off with no explanation, Wan Azirul testified. Gooi told reporters that the trip likely was cancelled because Kim had entered Malaysia on Feb. 6, 2017. On the day of his murder, Kim was booked on a flight to Macau, where he lived with his family.
Chang is one of the four North Koreans wanted by police and was at the airport on the day of Kim’s murder. He and the three others fled Kuala Lumpur hours later.