SHAH ALAM, Malaysia >> Security videos showing the estranged half brother of North Korea’s leader being attacked at a Malaysian airport and the two suspects hurrying away afterward were presented at their murder trial on Wednesday.
Kim Jong Nam was seen arriving at the departure hall at the budget terminal of the Kuala Lumpur international airport the morning of Feb. 13 and moving to a check-in area. A woman identified in court as Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong approaches Kim at the check-in counter and clasps both hands on his face from behind before fleeing.
The second suspect, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, can’t be seen attacking Kim, but police officer Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz testified that he identified her as a person seen in the video running away in a different direction.
Wan Azirul told the court that Huong’s manner was “aggressive” and she didn’t apologize to Kim, like she did to another person she approached in a similar manner at the airport two days earlier. A video of that encounter, which was described as a practice session for smearing Kim’s face with VX nerve agent, was also shown to the court.
Both women are seen hurrying to separate restrooms, holding their hands away from their bodies as if to avoid contact. Wan Azirul testified that their hands were in normal positions after they left the restrooms. He said that there were restrooms on the floor where the attack took place, but that the women had gone to restrooms one floor down.
After they came out of the restrooms, he said the women headed to the airport taxi stand.
Video footage showed Huong, wearing a white long-sleeve top emblazoned with the letters “LOL” — the acronym for laughing out loud — and a blue skirt, waiting at the taxi stand. Aisyah, dressed in a gray sleeveless top, jeans and a scarf, then arrived and got into a taxi that appeared to be waiting for her while Huong was still in the taxi line.
Prosecutors contend the women knew they were handling poison, and a chemical weapons expert who testified earlier said VX could be removed safely by careful hand-washing. The expert, who is a government chemist, also testified that he detected traces of VX on Huong’s fingernail clippings and the women’s clothing, and that the amount of VX detected on Kim’s face exceeded a fatal dose.
Their defense lawyers have said Huong and Aisyah were duped by suspected North Korean agents into believing they were playing a harmless prank for a TV show.
“She seemed to be anxious,” Wan Azirul told the court. “From my observation, Doan has been informed and knew what needed to be done. Even though she seemed to be in panic, she knew what to do.”
Huong and Aisyah have pleaded not guilty to murder charges that carry a mandatory death sentence if they are convicted.
The videos were a combination of footage captured from cameras around the airport. The two women appeared to be on their own and there was no indication that they knew each other.
Earlier, the court was shown video footage of Huong buying a taxi voucher at the airport two hours before the attack on Kim. Aisyah, meanwhile, was seen in another security video meeting with an unidentified man at a cafe near the attack area 45 minutes earlier.
Video showed the man, wearing a black baseball cap and glasses, arriving at the cafe holding a white plastic bag. He then set up his cellphone on a selfie stick on a table just before Aisyah arrived. They chatted and had a drink, and the man handed a ticket to Aisyah before she left. Wan Azirul later identified the ticket as a taxi voucher.
The judge, lawyers and the two suspects are expected to visit the crime scene next week.