Media personnel on the lookout for North Korean envoy

KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — The North Korean embassy here continued to attract local and foreign media today especially in the wake of Malaysia’s announcement that ambassador Kang Chol was to leave the country within 48 hours from yesterday, having been declared a persona non grata.

Vehicles were seen entering and leaving the embassy in upscale Damansara Heights here, but none stopped when approached by journalists waiting at the gates.

The fact that the vehicles were tinted and the rainy condition were not in their favour either.

The media was abuzz at one point as one of the cars leaving the mission was believed to have carried Hyon Kwang-song, 44, a second secretary at the embassy wanted in connection with the murder of ‘Kim Chol’, widely reported to be Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

There were also no signs of Kang Chol, who is involved in a diplomatic row with Malaysia over his comments on the Malaysian probe into the murder case.

In announcing the expulsion last night, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia would react strongly against any insults made against it or any attempt to tarnish its reputation.

Jong-nam was at the KL International Airport 2 (klia2) on Feb 13 to board a flight to Macau when two women suddenly appeared before him and allegedly wiped his face with their hands laced with what was later identified as the VX nerve agent. He was rushed to hospital, but died on the way.

Ling Kah Yong, of Japan’s Jiji Press, said it was important to cover the story as it was of international interest.

“We need to feed our audience with the latest developments. Everyone in the (embassy) compound is a (potential) source (for stories),” he told Bernama.

Two women, 25-year-old Siti Aisyah, 25, an Indonesian, and 28-year-old Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese, were charged on Wednesday with the murder of ‘Kim Chol’. — Bernama