KIM Jong Nam, the murdered half-brother of North Korea’s leader, had a dozen vials of antidote for lethal nerve agent VX in his sling bag on the day he was poisoned, a Malaysian court was told this week.
Alcohol and Clinical Toxicology Unit chief Dr K. Sharmilah testified that the 12 bottles were filled with Atropine, a medication used to combat the effects of certain types of nerve agents and poisons including VX.
“I received the items (antidote) together with seven other exhibits from police who handed it to me at about 4.06pm on March 10 for toxicology tests,” she said, as reported by the Star.
Dr Sharmilah was testifying at the trial of two women, Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, who are charged with conspiring with four North Korean fugitives in the murder, in which they allegedly used the banned chemical weapon VX at the Kuala Lumpur international airport on Feb 13.
Both have pleaded not guilty to the killing. They say they were tricked and thought they were taking part in a TV prank. They face death by hanging if convicted.
CCTV footage from the departure lounge of the airport shows two women approach Kim Jong Nam before placing something over his face.
Dr Sharmilah also testified that a pesticide could also cause death and result in the same symptoms as VX poisoning.
Kim Jong Nam, who was living in exile in Macau, had criticised his family’s dynastic rule of North Korea and his brother – leader Kim Jong Un – had issued a standing order for his execution, some South Korean lawmakers have said.
Pyongyang has denied any involvement in the killing, and accusations have strained relations between Malaysia and the North Korean regime. In March, Malaysia was forced to return Kim Jong Nam’s body and allow suspects hiding in the embassy to return home, in exchange for the release of nine Malaysians barred from leaving Pyongyang.
On Thursday, a police witness told the court Huong had the opportunity to dispose of the now notorious “LOL” T-shirt she wore during the alleged attack but the shirt was easily found in a pile of clothes in her hotel room days later.
“The room was cluttered. The bed was unmade and there was a pile of clothes on the floor,” assistant superintendent Nasrol Sain Hamzah said.
The witness said the shirt and a colourful dress were found in an open Hello Kitty bag. The bag was on the floor at the edge of the bed.
“I did not touch the clothes because I was worried about the chemical compounds on the ‘LOL’ shirt and the dress,” he said.
The court hearings, which have run more than a month, are to resume on Jan 22.
Additional reporting by Reuters