Agency Report

Malaysian special forces keep guard at the hospital holding the body of Kim Jong-Nam, the assassinated half-brother of North Korea’s leader © AFP MOHD RASFAN

Armed guards in Malaysia on Tuesday stood watch at the hospital holding the body of Kim Jong-Nam, amid reports his son had come to Kuala Lumpur to claim the remains.

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A convoy of four unmarked vehicles were said to have entered the hospital compound in the early hours of Tuesday, with around 30 Malaysian special forces securing the area before all of them left by mid-morning.

A white police van was seen leaving at 4:00 am (2000 GMT Monday), an AFP journalist said.

The body of Kim Jong-Nam — assassinated last Monday at Kuala Lumpur airport — has been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Pyongyang and Malaysia, after North Korea insisted it be returned and objected to an autopsy being performed.

But Malaysia rejected the request, saying the remains must stay in the morgue until a family member comes forward to identify them with a DNA sample.

On Monday night Jong-Nam’s son Kim Han-Sol was due to arrive in Kuala Lumpur from Macau, local media and intelligence sources said.

Pyongyang’s envoy to Kuala Lumpur on Monday dismissed the request for a DNA sample as “preposterous” and said the embassy had the right to reclaim the body of a diplomatic passport holder.

Ambassador Kang Chol also savaged the police investigation into the killing, saying it was politically motivated and that Malaysia had conspired with South Korea from the beginning to frame the North.

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said the “deeply insulting” accusations were based on “delusions, lies and half-truths.”

Malaysia had earlier recalled its ambassador to Pyongyang and summoned Kang for a dressing down at the foreign ministry over the ongoing spat.