KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 ― China helped secure fingerprint data that allowed Malaysia to identify a man murdered here as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother, Kim Jong-nam.
Citing a source, The Star newspaper reported that Jong-nam's identity was determined using fingerprint data that were kept by authorities in Macau, where he had reportedly stayed with his family in exile prior to his death.
“Confirmation through fingerprint database is part of the process in identifying the victim in the context of DNA. It can be accepted aside from testing the samples of the victim's tissue, hair and blood with that of his family members,” the source was quoted as saying.
It also reported that various countries also kept Jong-nam's biometric data, due to his frequent visits to many countries such as Singapore and Japan.
“However, in the context of the case, Malaysian police have been cooperating with their counterparts in China via Interpol. More than 20 police personnel and officers from China have assisted in the process of identifying Jong-nam, as well as in other aspects,” the source was also quoted saying.
Yesterday, Japanese news agency Kyodo News cited sources when reporting that Japan had given Malaysia the fingerprint data of Jong-nam to assist in investigations over the latter's murder here.
It also reported that the fingerprint data was taken from Jong-nam back in 2001 when the Japanese government detained him at the Narita International Airport for attempting to use a false passport to enter the country.
Jong-nam had then told the Japanese government that he wanted to visit the Tokyo Disneyland theme park.
Last Friday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar finally confirmed the man assassinated at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on February 13 as being Jong-nam, but said he would not release details on how the identity was determined to ensure “the security of witnesses”.
The Malaysian police previously did not identify the deceased as Jong-nam but had instead referred to the passport he was holding when he died, and had said DNA evidence was needed for conclusive proof of identity.
No kin of Jong-nam has been reported to have showed up in Malaysia to either provide DNA samples or to collect the body.
Jong-nam was carrying a North Korean passport with the name of Kim Chol when he was believed to have been smeared with the VX nerve agent by two women — who have both since been charged.
Jong-nam's wife and children are believed to have gone into hiding.