KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Last Sunday’s embalming of the body of murdered North Korean Kim Jong-nam can help preserve it for up to three months, and is useful if the remains have to be sent to North Korea, according to a Kuala Lumpur Hospital source.
It is learnt that the body was embalmed for fear that it would begin to rot during the wait for the next-of-kin to identify the remains at the hospital mortuary.
Jong-nam was at 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 the palms of their hands which contained what was later identified as the VX nerve agent. He was rushed to the Putrajaya Hospital but died on the way.
The hospital source told Bernama that bodies which were not embalmed could only remain from rotting for between a week and two weeks in the freezer of the mortuary.
“As the investigation into the murder of Jong-nam may take a long time, the management decided to embalm the body to prevent rotting which could jeopardise the probe,” the source said.
It said that if the government decided to send the remains to North Korea soon, the body could be taken there before decomposition set in.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said last Wednesday that Kuala Lumpur Hospital had embalmed Jong-nam’s body to prevent decomposition.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim confirmed yesterday that the next-of-kin of Jong-nam left it to the Malaysian government to manage the remains. — Bernama