Malaysia says no DNA, no body

A man thought to be Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un, died earlier this week after he was apparently poisoned at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A police officer and a hospital staff member on February 17, 2017 outside the morgue of Kuala Lumpur General Hospital where the body thought to be Kim Jong-nam's was autopsied.

Malaysian police on Friday said they will not release the body of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un until DNA samples are provided from his next-of-kin.

Selangor state police chief Abdul Samah Mat said the samples were needed to confirm the identity of the victim.

"We are still waiting for the next-of-kin application, we have not received it yet," the police chief said. "We need to collect DNA samples from the next-of-kin in order to get conclusive evidence on the victim's identity."

Police are investigating Monday's alleged murder of a man provisionally identified as Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

The North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday officially requested the release of the body, having earlier tried in vain to stop Malaysian authorities from carrying out an autopsy.

Malaysia completed the autopsy on Wednesday, but authorities have not released the results.

The chairman of South Korea's National Assembly Intelligence Committee Lee Cheol Woo said on Wednesday, without revealing how he knew, that the 46-year-old Kim was poisoned by two women.

Following Kim's death, Malaysia arrested two female suspects, one an Indonesian and the other carrying Vietnamese travel documents.

Police also detained a Malaysian man to assist in their inquiries, and are still hunting for four men they believe were involved in the murder.

Who did it?

South Korea's spy agency told lawmakers in Seoul that it believed North Korean agents had killed Kim, acting on orders from North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

The intelligence agency also said that Kim had been living with his second wife in the Chinese territory of Macau, under Chinese protection, following previous threats on his life.

The agency said Kim Jong-un had issued a "standing order" for his elder half-brother's assassination, and that there had been a failed attempt in 2012.

Kim was at the airport to catch a flight to Macau when he was killed.

US officials said they also believed North Korean agents were responsible.