Agency Report

Malaysia said there was insuffient evidence to charge Ri Jong-Chol © Royal Malaysian Police/AFP

Malaysian authorities on Thursday said the only North Korean arrested over the airport assassination of Kim Jong-Nam will be released on Friday, even as Malaysia has cancelled  a visa-waiver programme with Pyongyang.

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The moves followed the day after two young women appeared in court charged with murdering the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with a banned nerve agent.

Attorney general Mohamed Apandi Ali said 47-year-old Ri Jong-Chol would be released on Friday.

“He is a free man. His remand expires and there is insufficient evidence to charge him,” Apandi said.

“He has no proper [travel] documents so we will deport him.”

Seven other North Koreans are wanted in connection with the killing, including a diplomat and an airline employee who are believed to be in Malaysia.

Four others are thought to have fled to Pyongyang on the day of the murder.

Ri was arrested days after Kim suffered an agonising death when he was attacked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport as he waited to board a flight to Macau.