Malaysia seeks to reassure public after nerve agent attack

By AFP   February 25, 2017 | 01:23 am PT
Malaysia seeks to reassure public after nerve agent attack
Malaysia's Royal Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar at a news conference regarding the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader, at the Malaysian police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 22, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha
'We want to make it clear to the public if there is any effects ... which could affect the health of the people,' said state police chief.

Malaysian police Saturday told the public they would do everything possible to ensure there was no risk from the lethal VX nerve agent used to assassinate Kim Jong-Nam.

People were worried about the use of the highly toxic agent developed for chemical warfare, state police chief Abdul Samah Mat said, after the audacious February 13 attack by two assassins at Kuala Lumpur airport.

Authorities revealed Friday the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was killed by the odourless, tasteless and highly toxic VX, listed by the UN as a weapon of mass destruction.


"We are taking action on this to be really sure," Abdul Samah said.

"We are working closely with our counterparts from our chemistry department, forensics and the team from the nuclear atomic agency in Malaysia."

He added: "We want to make it clear to the public if there is any effects ... which could affect the health of the people."

National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said Friday experts would sweep the airport terminal where the attack took place for traces of the toxin as well as other locations the two female suspects now in custody had visited.

Detectives are also holding a North Korean man but want to speak to seven other North Koreans, four of whom are thought to have fled to Pyongyang.

One man wanted for questioning, who is believed to still be in Malaysia, is senior North Korean embassy official Hyon Kwang Song, who enjoys diplomatic immunity.

However, Abdul Samah insisted under Malaysian law "we have the right to call anybody for statements for our investigations".

He added if wanted people do not co-operate, police would issue a notice "compelling" them to come forward.

The next step would be to obtain an arrest warrant, Abdul Samah said.

He also told reporters an investigation in connection to the murder was ongoing at an apartment complex in Kuala Lumpur but declined to comment on local media reports chemicals has been seized from the address.

No next-of-kin have yet come forward to formally identify the body of the 45-year-old victim or provide a DNA sample, but Abdul Samah said authorities would give relatives a "reasonable" amount of time to do so.

Jakarta was given consular access Saturday to Siti Aisyah, the Indonesian woman suspect.

The Indonesian foreign ministry said staff would "check her condition" and "obtain initial information from Siti Aisyah in order (to provide) further legal assistance".

Related news:

Malaysia says VX nerve agent was used in murder of Kim Jong Nam

Vietnam seeks to verify information on suspect in killing of N.Korean leader's half brother

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