One of the two women accused of murdering Kim Jong Nam, the estranged brother of North Korea’s leader, has claimed she was hired to take part in what she thought was a Japanese prank show.
A Malaysian court heard that Indonesian Siti Aisyah was paid 400 Malaysian Ringgitt (RM) – equivalent to around £70 – in January 2017 to perform a series of pranks outside a Malaysian mall for what she was told was a Japanese YouTube show.
Testimony by investigating officer Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz appears to support claims that Aisyah was tricked into thinking that she was taking part in a TV show when she helped wipe a substance on Kim Jong Nam’s face at Kuala Lumpur International airport on February 13, 2017.
It is alleged that she and 29-year-old Vietnamese woman Doan Thi Huong were trained by North Korean agents to swab Kim’s face with VX nerve agent – a claim denied by North Korea.
Both women have always maintained through lawyers and relatives they thought they were smearing baby oil on his face.
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Police investigator Wan Azirul Nizam told the court that Aisyah was picked up by a taxi driver named Kamaruddin Masiod early one January morning, who told her about a YouTube prank show to be aired in Japan, offering to introduce her to show bosses.
Wan said Aisyah is believed to have met with Kamaruddin and a man named James later the same morning at the Pavilion shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, where she was apparently shown a video of the prank.
But the defence claim the man she knew as “James” was actually a North Korean named Ri Ju U – one of three men later deported to Pyongyang.
Wan Azirul Nizam said the taxi driver had told police that he had seen Aisyah performing the pranks outside the mall.
The trial continues.