Kim Jong Nam's death: North Korean man arrested, 4th suspect in bizarre case

Posted at 8:14 AM, Feb 18, 2017

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Authorities have arrested a fourth suspect in the mysterious death of the half brother of North Korea's leader.

North Korean Ri Jong Chol was arrested Friday in Selangor, Malaysia. He is one of four people detained in the death of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Selangor Police Chief Abdul Samah Mat said the latest suspect was arrested at a condominium in Selangor state but declined to give further details.

The victim was on his way to catch a flight Monday morning to see his family in Macau when he died. Police believe he was sprayed with poison as he waited to board the flight at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia.

In addition to the North Korean man, an Indonesian woman, a Malaysian man and another woman carrying Vietnamese identification have been arrested.

The Indonesian woman, identified as Siti Aishah, thought she was participating in a television prank show when she squirted liquid in the victim's face, Indonesian police said.

Aishah said she was "not aware it was an assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents," Indonesian police chief Tito Karnavian told reporters in Aceh Province.

She said she had sprayed others in a similar manner "three to four times [before]." However, Karnavian told journalists, in this case, "there was allegedly a dangerous substance in the sprayer."

Aishah said "she was given a few dollars for the job," Karnavian said. "She was used but she didn't know what it was for."

Indonesian police did not confirm who provided the sprayer to the suspects.

Asked about the information on Aishah released by the Indonesian police, Mat told CNN that it did not come from the Malaysian police.

Twists and turns

This is the latest bizarre detail to emerge in the death of the half brother of North Korea's leader.

The events leading up to his death are sketchy, but Selangor State Criminal Investigations Department Chief Fadzil Ahmat told Reuters Kim "felt like someone grabbed or held his face from behind."

Kim felt dizzy and immediately went to an airport customer assistance counter to seek medical help. They were concerned enough to take him to a clinic on the premises.

An ambulance was called to take Kim to the hospital, but he died on the way.

Kim has lived in Macau, a Chinese territory and popular gambling destination, since his departure from North Korea years ago.

Malaysian police have declined to release his body to North Korea without DNA from next-of-kin.

"This is a Malaysian investigation, the crime happened in our country and we have processes and laws to deal with such matters," Mat told CNN.

"For the post-mortem and autopsy to be completed we need to have DNA to be able to identify the body and we have not had that yet," he added.

The Selangor police chief said he had not received a toxicology report.

Second autopsy?

Malaysia's police chief, Insp. Gen. Khalid Abu Bakar, told CNN Saturday that the authorities are willing to carry out a second autopsy of Kim if it is requested by his family.

In a text message exchange with CNN, he added that no additional consent or witnessing of the procedure would be required from the North Korean Embassy.

North Korea said Friday it would "reject" the results of a "forced" autopsy on one of its citizens that was not witnessed by its officials, according to a statement read by the country's ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol.

The ambassador demanded the immediate release of the body.