One of the two women suspected of murdering North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s brother claims she was paid $90 to take part in what she thought was a “prank.”
Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half brother of the young North Korean despot, died Feb. 13 after two women, one from Indonesia and the other from Vietnam, wiped a toxic chemical on his face at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. Siti Aisyah, a 25-year-old Indonesian national and a lead suspect, told authorities that she was paid a few dozen bucks to smear “baby oil” on the victim’s face for a reality TV show, the BBC reports.
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Aisyah met with Indonesian officials Saturday.
“She only said in general that somebody asked her to do this activity. She only said in general she met with some people who looked Japanese or Korean,” explained Indonesian Deputy Ambassador Andreano Erwin. “According to her, that person gave her 400 ringgits ($90) to do this activity … She only said she was given a kind of oil, like baby oil.”
The substance that resulted in Kim’s demise was about as far from baby oil as possible.
Kim was killed with a VX nerve agent, an amber-colored oil that is both tasteless and odorless. VX, also known as ethyl N-2-Diisopropylaminoethyl Methylphosphonothiolate, has only one known use: chemical warfare, and of the known chemical warfare agents, it is by far the most potent.
VX is classified as a “weapon of mass destruction” by the United Nations.
While the two female suspects claim they thought the hit was a prank, Malaysian authorities view the situation differently.
“We strongly believe it is a planned thing and that they have been trained to do that,” Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said at a press conference Wednesday. Both women went to the restroom to wash their hands immediately after the attack.
Malaysian police believe the women practiced playing out the hit multiple times at high-end shopping malls prior to last Monday’s assassination.
Most observers believe Kim’s death was orchestrated by Pyongyang, which vehemently denies any involvement but clearly has motive.
Kim Jong-nam was the apparent heir until he fell out of favor with his father, making a way for his younger brother Kim Jong-un, who has executed hundreds of people in an attempt to consolidate his power. Malaysian authorities have arrested one North Korean suspect, a chemistry expert, and are chasing several other North Korean suspects, including a diplomat. Four North Korean men reportedly met with Aisyah and her Vietnamese counterpart prior to the murder.
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