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Kim Jong-nam

Malaysia says Kuala Lumpur airport safe, no trace of deadly VX nerve agent after Kim murder

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 February, 2017, 10:42am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 February, 2017, 10:42am

Malaysian police have completed a sweep of the airport terminal where the exiled half-brother of North Korea’s leader was attacked and say they found no trace of the nerve agent that was suspected to have been used to kill him.

Senior police official Abdul Samah Mat, who is leading the investigation, declared the budget terminal at Kuala Lumpur’s airport a “safe zone” after the sweep detected no hazardous material. More than a dozen officers in protective gear conducted the two-hour sweep early Sunday.

The investigation has unleashed a serious diplomatic fight between Malaysia and North Korea, a prime suspect in the February 13 killing of Kim Jong-nam. Friday’s revelation by Malaysian police that the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim raised the stakes significantly in a case that has broad geopolitical implications.

Two women are seen shoving something into Kim’s face in leaked CCTV airport footage. The 45-year-old later suffered a seizure and died before he reached hospital.

Large sections of the terminal’s departures hall were cordoned off with police tape in preparation for a 75-minute sweep for traces of the highly potent toxin as a few curious onlookers watched.

Authorities said two female toilets and other relevant areas were checked in the terminal.

Student Hariz Syafiq, 21, who was due to take a domestic flight later, said: “Yes, I’m worried a bit. Why didn’t they quarantine the airport?”

The sweep involved officers from the police’s chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear teams, as well as the fire department’s hazardous materials unit and the government’s atomic energy board.

Abdul Samah said the budget terminal was “free from any form of contamination of hazardous material.”

Associated Press, Agence France-Presse