\N. Korean embassy demands release of suspects in connection with its citizen’s death

KUALA LUMPUR-- North Korea's in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday demanded Malaysian authorities to release three suspects still held in connection with the death of its citizen.

Malaysian police had detained a total of four suspects following the death of the 46-year-old man on Feb. 13 after being attacked by two women at a Kuala Lumpur airport, but later released one of them, a male from Malaysia.

The other three suspects still in custody are the two women, holding vietnam and Indonesian passports repectively, and a man from North Korea who reportedly is working in Malaysia.

In its third statement on the case, the North Korean embasssy described the female suspects from Vietnam and Indonesia as "innocent".

It again cast doubt on the investigation carried out by Malaysian police, accusing Malaysia of "insulting the sovereignty of DPRK (Democratic Republic of Korea)."

The statement rebuffed Malaysian national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar's saying that the suspects knew they were using toxin, asking "how is it possible that these female suspects could be alive after the incident."

The statement marked a further escalation in the row between Malaysia and North Korea, with the Malaysian government already recalling its ambassador in Pyongyang.

Earlier on Wednesday, Khalid said the Malaysian police are seeking to question an official attached to the North Korean embassy and a staff from Air Koryo, a North Korean national carrier.

"We have requested the embassy to hand them over for investigation," Khalid told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, adding that police would compel them to come forward, including issuing arrest warrants should the request not be met.

The police are also looking for another North Korean man who is believed to be related to the case.

Police have also identified four other men from North Korea, who they believe had left Malaysia on the same day of the death of the man and now are back in their country.

"We strongly believe that they had left Malaysia, and we strongly believed that they have arrived in Pyongyang, " Khalid said. He also said the police would request Pyongyang authorities to trace the four and hand them back to Malaysia.

Khalid reiterated that DNA test would be needed to identify the victim, before the body could be released. The police have made request to the North Korean embassy to find the family.

"No family members have come over to identify the deceased and assist our investigation," he said.

Malaysian police earlier said the family were given two weeks to come over to identify the body.

The death of the man has made global headlines and triggered a diplomatic spat between Malaysia and North Korea. North Korea's ambassador has accused Malaysia of "having political aims" behind the investigation. Malaysia retorted that any suggestion that the country was colluding with any foreign government is "deeply insulting".

The man died on the way from a Malaysian airport to hospital. Malaysian police identified him as Kim Chol from North Korea. Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said embassy documents showed the man was Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean top leader Kim Jong Un, but that was denied by the North Korean ambassador.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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