Kim’s murder was to happen in Macau, suspect says in court

Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong (center)

The trial of the two suspects who allegedly are responsible for the murder of Kim Jon Nam began late last week in Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur.The suspects’ premeditations are already being exposed.

According to the Japanese newspaper, Asahi Shimbun, during her first testimony in court, Siti Aishah, an Indonesian woman who is being accused of murder of the half-brother of the North Korean leader, has said that the initial [murder] plan was prepared to happen in Macau and not in the Malaysian airport.

The newspaper cites an official attending the court session who was sent by the Indonesian government to help with the defense of Aishah. The official shared that Asihah said that the attack at the airport was a “sudden change of plans.”

The two suspects facing the Malaysian justice system also revealed that they were “hired” by North Korean officials to participate in a “prank tv show” to be recorded in the region on early February.

The same source also mentioned that Aishah named one of these officials as North Korean Foreign Ministry official Hong Song Hak, noting that it was he who “changed the plans” of the alleged location from Macau to Kuala Lumpur.

Media reports from last week showed both suspects, who are charged with killing Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with a highly toxic nerve agent, appearing in court wearing bulletproof vests.

At the court, the lawyers for Aishah and the other suspect, Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, also told media that they feared a “trial by ambush” in which Malaysian police authorities did not divulge the crime’s evidence.

Indonesian suspect Siti Aisyah (center)

The lawyers, Gooi Soon Seng and Hisyam The, representing respectively Aishah and Huong have also told the court of these concerns. They highlighted that the police had not responded to their requests to provide evidence, such as CCTV recordings, and statements from three North Korean suspects allowed to leave Malaysia along with the body of Kim Jong Nam as part of a deal with North Korea. Prior to the deal being struck,  nine Malaysian nationals were prohibited from leaving North Korea as the Malaysian authorities were refusing to release the body of Nam or officials who were persons of interest in the case.

“We’ve lost an opportunity to cross-examine them. […] There should be no trial by ambush,” said Aishah’s lawyer, noting that the authorization to depart the country for Ri Ji U (also known as James) had “compromised the defense,” since he was a key witness, Gooi told the reporters outside the court, cited by Reuters.

Sharing in the same criticisms, Huong’s lawyer has said his request to the police to provide evidence such as photos and communications from the two phones seized from his client has been ignored.

It is believed that four other North Korean nationals, identified as suspects on the same case,left Kuala Lumpur for Pyongyang on the exact day of the killing.

Last week Malaysian magistrate court was prepared to hear a request from the prosecution for the two women to be tried jointly in a higher court, but the hearing was postponed to May 30 due to a prosecution request for more time to collect relevant documents.

Indonesia’s Siti Aishah and Vietnam’s Doan Thi Huong are facing the death penalty, in the case of conviction by the Malaysian court. RM

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