Kim Jong-nam trial: Body claimed by N.Korean embassy rep, court told

Kim Jong-nam trial: Body claimed by N.Korean embassy rep, court told
Dr Mohd Shah also reconfirmed that the main cause of Kim Chol a.k.a Kim Jong-nam's (pic) death was the VX nerve agent.
SHAH ALAM: The body of Kim Chol, an alias for Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was claimed by a representative of the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur on March 30, the High Court here was told today.

Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) Forensics Department head Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood, 57, told the court that the body was not allowed to be bought out of the mortuary until the cause of death was established.

Cross-examined by counsel Datuk Naran Singh, the sixth prosecution witness said he could not remember the name of the representative because the details were not with him today.

"But I recorded the name of the representative in the form to release the body," he said at the trial of two women, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, who are both charged with four others still at large with murdering Kim Chol, 45, at the Departure Hall of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) at 9am on Feb 13.

Dr Mohd Shah also said he did not do DNA comparison regarding Kim Chol's body because he only had Kim Chol's blood samples.

Datuk Naran: "Is it correct that DNA from Kim Chol's body was compared with his son's to confirm that the body was indeed that of Kim Chol?"

Dr Mohd Shah: "Not correct. DNA matching could not be done because I only had one set of DNA samples, that is from the deceased."
Datuk Naran: "Only from the deceased, none from the family?"

Dr Mohd Shah: "Yes."

The witness agreed with a suggestion by the lawyer that without DNA from the next-of-kin, he could not be 100 percent certain that the body was that of Kim Chol, but said based on the copy of the passport furnished by the police, the deceased was Kim Chol.

Dr Mohd Shah also agreed with another suggestion by the lawyer that the post-mortem was delayed due to pressure from several quarters.

He said the first time he saw Kim Chol's body was at the Putrajaya Hospital on Feb 14 while the post- mortem was conducted at 12.45 pm the following day because of a protest from the Korean Embassy.

"Representatives from the Korean Embassy made a protest. The protest was against the Royal Malaysia Police and at a representative of the Foreign Ministry," he said, but did not specify whether it was North Korea or South Korea.

Questioned several times whether Kim Chol died from a heart attack, Dr Mohd Shah maintained that the finding that the victim died due to VX poison as examination conducted on the deceased's heart found it to be void of new or old symptoms of heart attack.

To a question by lawyer Gooi Soon Seng, Dr Mohd Shah said he could not ascertain if Kim Chol was poisoned before arriving at klia2.

However, he concurred with Gooi on the possibility that the VX poison was injected into Kim Chol, but it was difficult to detect the injection as the victim's body was full of tattoos.

He also agreed with Gooi that the VX poison had no smell and was tasteless.

When re-examined by deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P. Kunyalam, Dr Mohd Shah reiterated that the main cause of Kim Chol's death was the VX nerve agent.

"In this case, the cause of death is VX poisoning based on the post-mortem and confirmation of the VX nerve agent by the Chemist Department, Malaysia," he said.

He said the VX nerve agent only had one purpose which was as a chemical weapon as listed in Chemical Weapon Convention 1997.

He said he did not carry out a quantitative test to determine the dosage for VX to cause death, but it sufficed to only know the presence of the poison.

"In handling poisoning cases, the dose is important but if it involves VX, qualitative tests suffice because the VX nerve agent is not not something that can be obtained casually," he said.

The hearing before Judge Datuk Azmi Ariffin continues tomorrow. -- Bernama