Agency Report

Ri Jong Chol (C), a North Korean suspect in the murder of Kim Jong-Nam, has been deported from Malaysia
© AFP MOHD RASFAN

Reports say a North Korean suspect in the murder of Kim Jong-Nam has denounced Malaysia’s probe into the airport assassination as a “conspiracy” to harm Pyongyang.

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Ri Jong-Chol, who is among eight North Koreans suspected of involvement in the killing of the half-brother of the North Korean leader made the comments to journalists in Beijing, after Malaysia released him citing insufficient evidence.

The investigation was “a conspiracy to impair the dignity of the Republic (North Korea),” the 47-year-old said in comments carried in Japanese and South Korean media.

Police presented me with ”fabricated evidence”

He denied any involvement in the murder, saying that police had presented him with “fabricated evidence” and said he would be rewarded with a comfortable life in Malaysia if he confessed.

“But no way. No matter how good a life it could be, it is still not as good as my own motherland. How could I forget the motherland that raised me and fed me to this point?” television footage broadcast in South Korea showed him as saying.

Ri, who was the only North Korean detained over the attack, was released and deported two days after two women — one Vietnamese and one Indonesian — were charged with murdering Kim.

Malaysia’s police chief earlier told AFP he was frustrated by Ri’s release and that he still believed the North Korean played a part in the murder.

It is expected Ri will return to Pyongyang from Beijing.

He was arrested days after Kim suffered an agonising death after he was attacked as he waited to board a flight to Macau.