Four North Koreans suspected to be behind the killing of Kim Jong-un’s half-brother fled Malaysia on the day he was assassinated, the police say.
Kim Jong-nam was attacked and killed by two female assailants as he was walking through the departure hall at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday.
So far, a North Korean man, a Vietnamese woman, and an Indonesian woman have been detained in connection with the hit.
South Korean police claim he was killed by North Korean agents, who are also blocking an autopsy on the 46-year-old's body.
According to South Korean sources, the North Korean leader ordered the assassination of his elder brother in 2012 after he spoke out against his family’s manner of ruling the country.
"We believe the North Korean regime is behind this incident, considering five suspects are North Koreans," said the spokesman at South Korea's Unification Ministry, Jeong Joon-hee, on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Deputy Inspector-General Noor Rashid Ibrahim announced that his country was coordinating with Interpol to locate and arrest the four fugitive North Koreans.
"The four suspects are holding normal passports, not diplomatic passports…Next plan is to get them. We of course have international cooperation especially with Interpol, bilateral involvement with the country involved, we will go through those avenues to get the people involved," he said.
He went on to identify the suspects as Ri Ji-hyon, 33, Hong Song-hac, 34, O Jong-gil, 55, and Ri Jae-nam, 57, adding that they arrived in Malaysia a few days before the attack.
- Malaysia rejects N Korea request for Kim's body
Kim Jong-nam was the eldest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and had spent most of life outside the country. He died while on the way to hospital after complaining to the airport's customer service that two women had somehow poisoned him as he was dizzy.
“We are trying very hard to get the next of kin to come and assist us in the investigation,” added Noor Rashid.