Malaysian police have arrested a two more suspects in connection with the murder of Kim Jong Nam, older half-brother to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
On Thursday, officers first took into custody 25-year-old Siti Aishah, NBC News reported. Later that day, the Royal Malaysian police arrested her boyfriend, 26-year-old Muhammad Farid Bin Jalaluddin. Authorities detained 28-year-old Doan Thi Huong on Wednesday, who was carrying a Vietnamese passport. While Jalaluddin is Malaysian, police have not confirmed whether or not Huong's travel documents were real or forged. The BBC has identified Aishah as Indonesian.
When the attack was first reported, Malaysian police could not confirm the identity of the man who died en route from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Putrajaya Hospital on Monday. The man had been carrying a passport under the name Kim Chol when he died.
South Korean media, however, reported that the deceased was Kim Jong Nam, which autopsy results have now confirmed. South Korean intelligence believed Kim Jong Nam had been poisoned by two women in a hit commissioned by Kim Jong Un.
Fadzil Ahmat of the Royal Malaysian police told Reuters that, while waiting to board a flight, "the deceased ... felt like someone grabbed or held his face from behind."
"He felt dizzy, so he asked for help at the ... counter of KLIA," Fadzil added, according to Reuters. North Korea reportedly demanded that Malaysia return the body, but because the government did not follow standard administrative procedure, Malaysia performed the autopsy anyway.
There is currently no evidence available that suggests North Korea is behind the attack, but government officials in the U.S. and South Korea strongly suspect that it was. As NBC reported, there has been a "kill order" on Kim Jong Nam since his younger half-brother became Supreme Leader in 2011.
Kim Jong Nam was long expected to fill that role upon the death of Kim Jong Il, but after he was caught attempting to travel to Japan — ostensibly to visit Disneyland — using a fake passport in 2001, he was essentially exiled from North Korea. Kim Jong Nam publicly questioned the dynastic succession and has been critical of Kim Jong Un's leadership capabilities, which has not endeared him to the regime. According to the BBC, South Korean spy Lee Byung-ho said that China had been shielding Kim Jong Nam from North Korean assassination efforts for years.