Jong-nam trial told police found no footage of practice runs

Bede Hong

Murder accused Doan Thi Huong at klia2 for a court visit to retrace her steps at the airport on February 13. Police say they found no evidence that the two murder suspects practiced their 'attack' around Kuala Lumpur in January. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, October 25, 2017.

POLICE have found no CCTV footage of Kim Jong-nam murder accused Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah carrying out practice runs for their alleged attack on the North Korean in Kuala Lumpur as claimed by defence lawyers.

Investigating officer ASP Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz told the Shah Alam High Court today that police investigations could not find CCTV footage of the women undertaking suspicious activities in multiple locations in Kuala Lumpur.

Azirul said police went through footage of areas near KLCC on January 5, KL Sentral and the nearby Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad office on January 7 as well as the DoubleTree Hotel on January 9.

Footage of the Mandarin Oriental hotel between January 9 to 12 was not available as the hotel was undergoing renovation during the period, he said. 

“I found no involvement of the suspects or movements of suspects in carrying out such exercises,” Azirul testified. 

The dates and locations were claimed to be when the practice runs were held, deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said after the morning session. 

Doan, 28, and Siti, 25, claimed innocence over the murder of Jong-nam, the brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying they believed they were taking part in a prank for a television show. 

Four foreign men had guided them through the act via multiple rehearsals around the city, the women had said. 

The court was also told that Jong-nam was found with four passports. Iskandar later told reporters that all four were North Korean, bearing the name Kim Chol, adding three carried photos of “younger versions” of the passport bearer. The court has thus far made no reference to the name Kim Jong-nam.

Azirul told the court that he made photocopies of Kim Chol’s passports before surrendering them to the North Korean embassy. Jong-nam’s body was returned to Pyongyang on March 31 in exchange for the Malaysian embassy team. 

Judge Azmi Ariffin overruled defence objections that photocopies of Jong-nam’s passport be entered as evidence. 

Records from the Immigration Department also showed that Kim Chol entered Malaysia via klia2 on February 6, Azirul said.

Immigration records only showed Siti exiting the country via klia2 on January 21 while Doan was shown to have entered on February 4 via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, he said. 

Azirul testified that police arrested Ri Jong-chol, a North Korean national, on February 16, two days after Jong-nam’s death. Azirul said CCTV footage showed a vehicle registered under Ri’s name, a grey Naza Ria, transporting two unnamed male suspects to the airport. 

Azirul also confirmed the arrest of Muhammad Farid Jalaluddin, Siti’s boyfriend, on the same day. 

DNA samples from blood, nails and hair of both women were also taken on the same day at Putrajaya Hospital.  

An expert from the Chemical Department testified that Jong-nam died on February 13 due to exposure to the deadly VX nerve agent, classified as a weapon of mass destruction. 

Meanwhile, the court erupted in a brief heated exchange after Shaharuddin refuted defence objections over his cross-examination of Azirul. 

Shaharuddin had asked Azirul if the route taken on an open court visit yesterday was comparable to the day Jong-nam died.

Defence lawyers objected to the words “serangan” (attack) that was used in the cross-examination.

“And how can we compare (it) with February 13? You have to compare the crowd size,” said Siti’s lead counsel, Gooi Soon Seng.

“They cannot teach me how to do my job,” replied Shaharuddin. 

Lawyer Naran Singh, who represents Doan, shouted back, “You are a prosecutor, not a persecutor”.

“Enough. I said enough,” said Azmi. “I made a ruling that day regarding the word attack. I will make a conclusion at the end of the day. It will depend on the CCTV footage and witness statements. That’s all I’m going to say.” – October 25, 2017.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.