North Korea now insists man poisoned in Malaysian airport is not Kim Jong Nam
North Korea's ambassador in Kuala Lumpur has denounced Malaysia's investigation into the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader, and insisted the man poisoned at Kuala Lumpur airport last week was not him.
"It has been seven days since the incident but there is no clear evidence on the cause of death and at the moment we cannot trust the investigation by the Malaysian police," Kang Chol told reporters at the embassy's gates.
As a diplomatic row escalated between the two countries, Malaysia recalled its ambassador in Pyongyang and summoned Kang to its Foreign Ministry to protest public comments he had made accusing Malaysia of "colluding and playing into the gallery of foreign forces," a veiled reference to South Korea.
The developments came as the Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV released security camera footage purportedly showing the dramatic assassination of 46-year-old Kim as he was about to check in at Kuala Lumpur for a flight to Macau, where he was living with his second wife and son.
The footage shows two women approaching Kim from opposite directions.
One woman with shoulder-length hair is seen placing her arms over Kim's head before reaching around his face.
She is then seen hurriedly but calmly walking away.
The blurry five-minute clip shows a man wearing a light-coloured jacket and trousers, carrying a black bag over his shoulder, walking into the airport, looking at flight schedules before approaching a self check-in kiosk.
After the alleged attack the man is seen walking to an information counter, where he speaks with two personnel.
They escort him to what appears to be the arrival hall, where the man is seen to gesture with his two hands to two uniformed policemen, appearing to indicate a problem with his face.
The policemen escort him to a medical clinic at in the terminal.
Kim died on the way to hospital.
Malaysian authorities have identified four North Korean men who flew out of Kuala Lumpur almost immediately after the killing as key suspects.
According to Malaysia's media they are believed to have reached Pyongyang.
Another North Korean man trained as a chemist and working in Kuala Lumpur has been arrested along with two women, one from Indonesia and the other from Vietnam.
Hwang Kyo-ahn, the acting president of South Korea, on Monday called the assassination "an intolerable crime against humanity and a terrorist act."
He urged the world to hold North Korea, an isolated nation under global sanctions, to account for the killing and ordered his government to strengthen precautions against attacks against South Koreans.
Kang's questioning of the identity of the poisoned man is bizarre because North Korea initially claimed the body was covered by diplomatic immunity and demanded that it be handed over to North Korean officials before any autopsy or forensic tests could be carried out.
In a prepared statement, Kang said Malaysia had "pinned the suspicion on us" and demanded that his country be included in the investigation into the killing.
He said his embassy had already identified the victim as Kim Chol, a North Korean citizen "as mentioned in passport."
Kim is believed to have been a frequent traveller to south-east Asian nations, including Malaysia, using a passport under that name, according to high-level Malaysian sources and a Japanese writer who wrote a book about him.
Kang said North Korea would "categorically" reject the findings of any autopsy and foreign tests on Kim's body.
He accused Malaysian police of threatening the family of a North Korean citizen living in Kuala Lumpur, claiming police did not have a warrant to raid his condominium or any evidence against him.
"They even pointed guns at his family members to threaten their lives and beat his teenage son in the face," Kang said.
'This is the human rights abuse that can be seen only in US gang films," he said.
North Korea has long been accused of some of the world's most horrendous crimes against its own citizens.
Malaysia's Foreign Ministry issued a strongly-worded rebuttal of Kang's claims, describing them as "baseless" and said Malaysia had followed laws and procedures required in a murder investigation and had been transparent and kept North Korea informed of developments in the case.
Until the assassination Malaysia was one of a dwindling number of countries that maintained close relations with North Korea.
Malaysia says it will not release Kim's body until all tests have been completed and his next of kin claims it.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un has made no public comment about the death of his long estranged younger sibling.
South Korea's spy agency has claimed Kim Jong Un issued a "standing order" five years ago to have him executed.
- Brisbane Times