Kim Jong Nam, the once heir apparent to former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was assassinated on the 13yh February 2017 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) by Vietnamese and Indonesian women believed to have been recruited by North Korean agents.
Jong Nam was travelling using a North Korean diplomatic passport under the pseudonym Kim Chol, a name he had used since 2010 to travel and also for his Facebook and e-mail accounts.
That was probably how North Korean agents had tracked him down.
Although Jong Nam (or Kim Chol) was using a diplomatic passport, he was not on the list of accredited diplomats to Malaysia, and his assassination was an act of crime conducted in Malaysia, in breach of Malaysian criminal law.
Former North Korean ambassador Kang Chol, or Mr Kan Cheong, went on an overdrive to pre-empt any investigative action the Royal Malaysian Police was going to take, first by declaring that the investigation by the police cannot be trusted, and that Malaysia was working with regimes that were bent on destroying North Korea (read: South Korea and the US), and demanded that the body of the unimportant Kim Chol be returned to North Korea.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was the first to blast Mr Kan Cheong for his undiplomatic behaviour, and Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman rapped the former for his conduct unbecoming of a diplomat.
That did not stop Mr Kan Cheong from continuing his attacks on Malaysia’s reputation.
“It is like him (Kang Chol) speaking with a North Korean gun pointed to his head!” a senior Malaysian Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi earlier this week announced the cancellation of the visa-free facility for North Koreans travelling to Malaysia.
Zahid who spoke as the Home Minister said, “I hope the decision of the home ministry will be implemented by the immigration department for the sake of national security.”
Malaysia established diplomatic channels with North Korea in the early 1970s but did not have an embassy in Pyongyang until during the Mahathir administration in 2003.
Other than Malaysia, 23 countries including have an embassy in Pyongyang and host a North Korean embassy on their soil including Indonesia, Sweden, Germany and the UK.
The next phase of escalation would be to cut-off diplomatic ties.
A North Korean suspect who is also a chemist deported from Malaysia accused Malaysian police of threatening to kill his family unless he confessed to killing Kim.
Ri Jong Chol, who was released after police said there was insufficient evidence to charge him, spoke to reporters in Beijing while on his way to Pyongyang.
Ri said that he wasn’t at the airport the day Kim was killed, but that police accused him of being a mastermind and presented him with “fake evidence.” He said they showed him a picture of his wife and two children, who were staying with him in Kuala Lumpur, and threatened to kill them.
I am surprised the police let him go instead of killing him and his family for his refusal to cooperate.
I am sure he said all that so he would not be made to walk through a minefield at the Great Leader’s pleasure.
Finally, at 6pm on the 4th March 2017, Mr Kan Cheong was declared a persona non grata by the Malaysian government and now has less than 35 hours to leave the country.
In a way, declaring Mr Kan Cheong almost a month after he started the fracas is a way of giving the North Korean diplomat some face. Had Malaysia sent him back during the first week, he would have been turned into dog faeces at the pleasure of the Great Leader within 60 hours of being sent home.
So Mr Kan Cheong, for your sake I do hope the Great Leader thinks you have done enough for the morherland before you got sent home.
I know you are going to miss your black Jaguar but do consider yourself lucky if the Great Leader would be kind enough to let you stay alive so you could ride on one of the People’s bicycle.
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