CCTV captures Kim Jong-nam before his death in 2017
Kim Jong-nam lived in exile for 14 years before he was killed by VX nerve agent, nearly four years ago. The North Korean, who was the half-brother of leader Kim Jong-un, had the deadly chemical smothered over his face and eyes at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, in Malaysia. Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah were arrested for the killing and both claimed they were part of a “video prank” not an assassination.
Footage of the assassination shared with Express.co.uk, showed Kim Jong-nam walk into the airport to print off his boarding pass.
But before he was able to do so, Ms Huong and Ms Aisyah raced over to him and “smeared the VX chemical onto his face”, then running away.
Shortly after, Kim Jong-nam “developed a limp” – a sign that the poison was taking effect – while he walked to the medical bay with police and within an hour he was dead.
Both women were arrested and faced the death penalty if they were found guilty of the murder of Kim Jong-nam.
Ms Huong and Ms Aisyah said the same thing when questioned by the police.
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Selvi Sandrasegaram, Ms Aisyah’s lawyer, revealed that she had to convince her client that the incident wasn’t part of a video prank.
She told the ASSASSINS documentary: “Her whole demeanour or conduct – she doesn’t know anything, that is when we found out Siti [Aisyah’s] story.”
Ms Aisyah explained that after the “prank” she went home and was relaxing with her roommate when police burst into the room to arrest her.
She recalled: “The police asked, ‘Where were you on the 13th [February 2017]?’ – ‘At the airport’, I said. ‘With whom?’
“‘With Mr Chang, my boss,’ I said. [Police asked], ‘Can you call him?’ So I called Mr Chang but the number wasn’t active.
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“The police asked, ‘Who are you? Are you a spy? What did you do that caused that man in the airport to die?’
“I was confused, I didn’t understand what they meant.”
Police told Ms Aisyah: “You are involved in the premeditated murder of the [North] Korean President’s brother.”
She recalled: “I was shocked, ‘You’re kidding? I was doing a video shoot!’”
Ms Aisyah, who was still confused, asked: “Is this part of the video prank?”
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Ms Sandrasegaram said that she “had to persuade” Ms Aisyah that “someone really died” because she was so adamant that they only performed a prank.
In an attempt to stress the seriousness of what happened, the lawyer bluntly told her: “This is not a prank show and now you are being charged for murder.”
Similarly, Ms Huong’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik revealed that his client had taken part in two pranks that were uploaded to YouTube before the killing.
The clip showed her playing a game with an unnamed man, where they had to pull plastic teeth out of a fake crocodile’s mouth before it snapped.
After the man lost the game, which was similar to Pop-Up Pirate or Buckaroo, she slapped him in the face.
Mr Teik said: “I want to emphasise that this prank is not connected whatsoever to the North Koreans. And this is one year before the incident with Kim Jong-nam.”
When asked if the video was funny, the lawyer replied: “It’s not… yes, it is. But whether it’s funny does not matter.
“This is part of the evidence to show that in fact, she was acting in funny video clips a long time before she met the North Koreans.”
In an audio recording with Ms Huong, she recalled meeting a man and asking him for $1,000 (£730) to appear in a prank video.
She said: “He explained about the funny video… He [told] me his boss can pay for the funny video.”
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Hadi Azmi, a freelance journalist in the region, believed that the women’s accounts were strengthened because they were made individually.
He said: “So now we are finding out that both women are claiming that they have been going around Asia for months.
“Doing prank shows for what they believe to be a Japanese production company and their last prank would be the murder of Kim Jong-nam.”
Both women pleaded not guilty to murder in 2017 and two years later they were both released.
After pressure from the Indonesian government, where Ms Aisyah was born, the charge against her was dropped in March 2019.
Ms Huong pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, one month later.
Her sentence – three years and four months – was reduced by one-third, which meant she had served her full prison term after her plea.
The ASSASSINS documentary investigates claims made by the women as well as the tensions between the deceased and his half-brother Kim Jong-un.
It claims that North Korea was behind the killing but the state has regularly denied any involvement in Kim Jong-nam’s death.
ASSASSINS is available to stream on Dogwoof On Demand, which is available here, and other digital platforms sites.
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