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N.K. suspect in Kim Jong-nam's killing is son of ex-envoy to Vietnam: sources

All Headlines 12:01 March 22, 2017

JAKARTA/HANOI, March 22 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean suspect involved in the killing of Kim Jong-nam is a son of the former top North Korean envoy to Vietnam and lured an Asian woman into the murder using his fluent Vietnamese, sources said Wednesday.

Ri Ji-hyon, 33, is the son of former North Korean ambassador to Hanoi Ri Hong and had lived in Vietnam for about 10 years, according to the sources.

He is suspected of having lured Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong into the plot to kill the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un which took place in Malaysia on Feb. 13.

She and Indonesian Siti Aisyah allegedly smeared banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent on Kim Jong-nam's face and he died within minutes. They claimed that they believed it was part of a prank show.

The sources said that Ri worked as a trainee diplomat at the North Korean Embassy in Vietnam for more than one year in November 2009. He worked as an interpreter as well.

Ri is among four North Korean suspects who fled Malaysia on the day of Kim's death and are believed to have returned to Pyongyang.

Malaysian police said that eight North Koreans were suspected of being involved in the murder along with the two Asian women. They are looking for three North Korean suspects, including diplomat Hyon Kwang-song.

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