Malaysian police have identified one of the two female assassins accused of killing Kim Jong-Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. Police identified and arrested 28-year-old Doan Thin Hoang, the New York Times reports. On Thursday, two more suspects were arrested in connection with Kim Jong-Nam’s death.
The BBC reports that a woman from Indonesia and a Malaysian man were arrested on Thursday. The man is suspected to be the woman’s boyfriend. The Indonesian woman was identified as Siti Aishah, 25.
CCTV footage showed her wearing a shirt with “LOL” – “laugh out loud” – printed on it when she allegedly poisoned Kim Jong-Nam at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13 with the help of another woman. Kim Jong-Nam has been traveling around the world since his younger brother, Kim Jong-Un, took power in the North Korea.
Here’s what we know so far about Doan Thin Hoang and Kim Jong-Nam’s assassination.
1. CCTV footage Shows Doan Wearing a Shirt With ‘LOL’ Written on it as She Fled the Airport
According to The Star in Malaysia, the CCTV footage shows Doan wearing a shirt that reads “LOL” as she fled the Kuala Lumpur airport. Other CCTV footage that was released earlier also appeared t show the same woman, but from a different angle.
The 28-year-old Doan and another woman allegedly poisoned the 45-year-old Kim Jong-Nam by throwing a poisonous chemical in his face. The New York Times reports that the National Intelligence Services of South Korea believe the attack was ordered by leaders in Pyongyang.
The Royal Malaysia Police said on February 15 that they arrested Doan and “positively identified” her based on the CCTV footage.
2. She Was Arrested Carrying a Vietnamese Passport
The Times reports that Malaysian police believe she was carrying a Vietnamese passport at the time of the assassination. After leaving the airport, she got into a taxi and fled the scene.
Like North Korea, Vietnam is a Communist state, although it does have a positive relationship with the U.S. In May 2014, President Barack Obama visited Vietnam and agreed to lift a ban on the sale of arms to the country.
Vietnam and North Korea do have a long relationship as well, but NKNews.org reported that this relationship has been on the decline in recent years.
3. It’s Still Not Clear if the Assassins Sprayed Kim Jong-Nam or Used a Needle to Poison Him
It’s still not clear how the two women poisoned Jong-Nam. According to the BBC, Malaysian police official Fadzil Ahmat told The Star that one woman “grabbed him from behind and splashed a liquid on his face.”
However, the BBC notes that the same official also told the Malaysian news agency Bernama that they covered his face with a “cloth laced with a liquid.” Other reports claimed that the two women used a needle to poison him.
His eyes “suffered burns as a result of the liquid,” Ahmat told Bernama.
The second female suspect and a man were arrested on Thursday, police said. Malaysian Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also officially confirmed that the man killed at the airport was Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother, the BBC reports. The news agency Bernama reported that Kin Jong-Nam was traveling under the name Kim Chol.
Selangor Police Chief Abdul Samah Mat also told the BBC that the autopsy was completed, but declined to say if the results will be made public. In addition, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister said they would return the body to North Korea id asked to do so.
A senior police officer told the Telegraph that Hoang thought spraying Kim Jong-Nam was a “prank.”
“One of the girls was told to hold a handkerchief on the face of the victim after he’d been sprayed by the other girl,” the officer told the Telegraph. “She held it there for 10 seconds. She said she thought spraying him had been a ‘prank’.”
4. There Was a Previous Assassination Attempt on Kim Jong-Nam in 2012
Kim Jong-Nam has been fearful for his life since 2011, when Kim Jong-Un took over North Korea after their father, Kim Jong-Il, died. According to the New York Times, there was an attempt to take his life in 2012. That same year, he also wrote a letter to his half-brother, begging for him not to kill him.
CNN reports that Kim Jong-Nam was an outspoken critic of his father and thought that his younger half-brother wouldn’t succeed at leading North Korea. Yoji Gomi, the author of the 2012 book My Father, Kim Jong Il, and Me, told CNN in 2012 that the two apparently never met.
“He spoke out against his father’s ‘military first’ policy,” Gomi told CNN in 2012. “He wants North Korea to embrace economic reform and open its doors.”
5. Kim Jong-Un Has Reportedly Ordered Over 340 People Since 2011
In December 2016, a South Korean think tank called the National Security Strategy released a report called The Misgoverning of Kim Jong-Un’s Five Years In Power. According to CNN, the group found that Kim Jong-Un has ordered the execution of 340 people since 2011.
About 140 of those executed were senior officials from the government and military. Observers note that there isn’t anyone within North Korea who can reel in Kim Jong-Un’s power.
“During his upbringing, he has been spoiled because he was a son of Kim Jong Il. The major danger is there is no one in his leadership circle to restrain him,” Hawaii Pacific University professor Seung-Kyun Ko told CNN, adding that Kim’s response to perceived challenges to his power are “a bit extreme.”