THE body of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader, will not be released until his family have provided DNA samples, Malaysia said yesterday, despite a request from Pyongyang.
Forensic specialists yesterday began testing samples from the dead man’s body to try to determine the toxin that was apparently sprayed in his face as he readied to board a plane at Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
North Korean diplomats objected to the post-mortem examination, Malaysian officials said, but the officials added that they would not release the body until procedures were complete.
“So far no family member or next of kin has come to identify or claim the body. We need a DNA sample of a family member to match the profile of the dead person,” said Selangor state police chief Abdul Samah Mat.
“North Korea has submitted a request to claim the body, but before we release the body we have to identify who the body belongs to,” he said.
DNA from a child, sibling — or even half-sibling — would be enough to provide a “kinship match” and confirm the identity, said a Malaysian forensic investigator.
Police were meanwhile questioning two women, one traveling on a Vietnamese passport, the other on an Indonesian document, as well as a Malaysian man.
The drama erupted on Monday morning as Kim Jong Nam, the elder brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, readied to board a plane to Macau.
Malaysian police say the chubby 46-year-old was attacked by two women who squirted some kind of liquid in his face.
Kim Jong Nam told staff he was suffering from a headache and was taken to the airport clinic grimacing in pain, according to Malaysian media citing CCTV footage from the airport. He was rushed to hospital but was dead before he arrived.