Murder as a prankMalaysian police arrested two female suspects in connection with the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half brother Kim Jong-nam, but still cannot explain the puzzling case.
Speculation is rampant on how Kim was fatally attacked with poisonous liquid in some form. It seems to have taken a brief five seconds for the assassins to carry out their mission in a James Bond-style murder plot. But their actions afterwards were so sloppy that they led to their speedy arrests — and raised questions over whether they were trained agents or not.
The case may be better explained after hunting down a rumored point man reportedly in his 40s from a North Korean spy agency.
Otherwise the murder could become a cold case, an eternal mystery.
What is shocking is not just the boldness of a murder taking place in a crowded international airport, but the advances in North Korea’s scheming.
It seems to have hired foreign assassins and attempted to disguise the murder as an accident. The Vietnamese suspect said she believed the hit to be “a prank.” The Indonesian suspect said she was told that she would be given $100 for appearing in a prank video.
Their testimonies cannot be entirely trusted, but given their clumsiness in the days after the murder, they could have been recruited randomly.
They could have been pulled into the high-profile murder believing they were taking part in a prank.
If this is true, North Korea is capable of greater cleverness than we imagined. What scares us is that anyone could be lured into committing an act of terrorism.
North Koreans could be among us and ordinary people could fall victim to their terrorism attempts. We must not let our guard down.
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 18, Page 26.