Indonesian woman ‘tricked’ into killing North Korean leader’s brother

Siti Aisyah, 25, an Indonesian woman suspected to be involved in the killing of the North Korean leader's half brother. (AP)

The Indonesian woman arrested for suspected involvement in the killing of the North Korean leader's half brother in Malaysia was duped into thinking she was part of a comedy show prank, Indonesia's national police chief said Friday, citing information received from Malaysian authorities.

Tito Karnavian told reporters in Indonesia's Aceh province that Siti Aisyah, 25, was paid to be involved in "Just For Laughs" style pranks, a reference to a popular hidden camera show.

He said she and another woman performed stunts which involved convincing men to close their eyes and then spraying them with water.

"Such an action was done three or four times and they were given a few dollars for it, and with the last target, Kim Jong Nam, allegedly there were dangerous materials in the sprayer," Karnavian said.

"She was not aware that it was an assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents," he said.

Karnavian's comments come after a male relative of Aisyah said in an Indonesian television interview that she had been hired to perform in a short comedy movie and traveled to China as part of this work. Indonesian Immigration has said Aisyah traveled to Malaysia and other countries, which it did not specify.

South Korea has been quick to accuse its enemies in North Korea of dispatching a hit squad to kill Kim Jong Nam at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, saying two female assassins poisoned him and then fled in a taxi.

Although Kim Jong Nam is believed to have two sons and a daughter with two women living in Beijing and Macau, police in Malaysia say none has come forward to claim the body or provide DNA samples in the aftermath of what appeared to be an assassination.

North Korean diplomats in Malaysia have requested custody of Kim Jong Nam's body, arguing that he had a North Korean passport. The officials objected to an autopsy, but Malaysian authorities went ahead with the procedure anyway because they did not receive a formal complaint.

Investigators were still trying to piece together details of the case, and South Korea has not said how it concluded that North Korea was behind the killing.

Malaysian police were questioning three suspects - Aisyah, another women who carried a Vietnamese passport, and a man they said is Aisyah's boyfriend - and waiting for autopsy results that could shed light on why Kim Jong Nam suddenly fell ill at the airport on Monday as he waited for a flight home to Macau.

Dizzy and in pain, he told medical workers at the airport he had been sprayed with a chemical. Within two hours, Malaysian officials said, he was dead.

Kim Jong Nam, who was 45 or 46, had lived in exile for years and was estranged from his younger half brother, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He reportedly fell out of favor in 2001, when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a false passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
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