MALAYSIAN forensic experts said tattoos inked on the dead body of the North Korean man confirm that he is indeed Kim Jong Nam, according to local media.
This comes as no next of kin has come forward to provide DNA samples to positively identify the body, believed to be that of the estranged half-brother of the supreme leader Kim Jong Un.
The investigators worked on matching tattoos on the man’s body with Jong Nam’s documented history, enabling them to draw direct links to the victim, the New Straits Times reported.
Among other critical secondary identification methods, the tattoo matching could put an end to the dispute on whether it was really him who was assassinated in Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 13.
Malaysia’s investigation into the killing has sparked diplomatic tension with North Korea, and on Tuesday a high-ranking delegation arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Pyongyang in a bid to claim the body.
North Korea insists that the deceased was one of its citizens named ‘Kim Chol’ as per the name on the North Korean passport the man was carrying when he died.
North Korea also asserted that the man died of a heart attack and not of poisoning from the highly toxic VX nerve agent.
The NST report said the markings on the man’s body includes a dark single-coloured tattoo on his stomach which depicted a man with oriental features, reeling in one of two Japanese carps.
Another tattoo which matches the body in question, the paper said, was one spotted on his left upper arm.
The report said some time in 2013, Jong Nam had sent a Japanese journalist a shirtless photograph of himself in the company of friends while at a resort in Singapore.
“The tattoos visible on Jong Nam’s stomach and left arm matched those on the body in HKL (Kuala Lumpur General Hospital Morgue),” the report said.
An expert who was close to the on-going effort told the paper that the strongly evident secondary identifiers will lead to a probability that it is ‘almost certain’ to be Jong Nam.
“This is enough for the next of kin to make a positive identification of the deceased,” he said.
On Wednesday, a Malaysian court charged two women – an Indonesian and a Vietnamese – with the assassination. They are believed to have applied the super-toxic nerve agent that killed Jong Nam in minutes.
Siti Aishah, a 25-year-old mother of one from Jakarta, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, from rural northern Vietnam, could be hanged if they are convicted for the killing that took place at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 13.
The security camera footage, which has been released in the media, showed the two women approaching Jong Nam at the airport departure hall and rubbing a cloth over his face. The victim was seen stumbling into a clinic and died within 20 minutes of the assault.
Malaysian authorities have also arrested one North Korean and named at least four other suspects who were said to have fled to Pyongyang after the attack.
However, the authorities released and deported the North Korean suspect on Friday citing lack of evidence to press charges.