Autopsy results on Kim Jong-Nam suggest he was killed by “very serious paralysis” due to a lethal nerve agent, Malaysia’s health minister was reported by AFP to have said on Sunday.
Reports say the estranged half-brother of the North Korean leader would have died “in a very short period of time”, Health Minister S. Subramaniam added.
Malaysia was said to have revealed Friday that the 45-year-old victim was killed with the VX nerve agent, which is so deadly it is listed by the UN as a weapon of mass destruction.
Three nabbed over incident
Police have since arrested two women suspected of staging the attack as well as a North Korean man.
They want to speak to seven other North Koreans including a senior embassy official, but four of the suspects fled Malaysia on the day of the murder.
The two women can be seen shoving something into Kim’s face in leaked CCTV airport footage of the brazen February 13 attack. He later suffered a seizure and was dead before he reached hospital.
Nerve agents prevent the proper operation of an enzyme that acts as the body’s “off switch” for glands and muscles.
Without that switch, glands and muscles are constantly being stimulated, eventually tire and become unable to sustain breathing.
Cause of death all but confirmed
Subramaniam told reporters the cause of death was now “more or less confirmed”.
The scene of the killing, the budget terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, was swept by civil defence personnel in hazmat suits overnight before being declared safe.
Police sealed off large areas of the Terminal Two departures hall as a few curious onlookers watched.
“The police cordon was at three areas — the scene of the attack, the bathroom where the two female suspects washed their hands and pathway leading to the airport clinic — [and] has been taken down,” a police spokesman said.