Kim Jong Nam ‘assassination’: Cause of death yet to be established, says Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s director-general of health has said the cause of death of the man believed to be Kim Jong Nam has yet to be determined.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday (Feb 21), Dr Noor Hisham added that the North Korean embassy has yet to provide dental or medical records to help identify the victim. No next-of-kin has come forward.

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He said the man did not appear to have died of a heart attack either, as claimed by North Korea’s ambassador Kang Chol.

Dr Noor Hisham said only one postmortem had been carried out – professionally and in accordance with legal requirements – on Feb 15. The samples were still being analysed in the lab.

No obvious puncture wounds were seen on the body. There were reports that the man had been attacked with a poison needle.

When asked if facial identification had been carried out and if the North Korean ambassador had viewed the body, Dr Noor Hisham told Channel NewsAsia: “Yes that’s under external post-mortem looking for facial identification, scars moles and what have you.

“So in short we have the dental identification, finger prints, DNA and external facial and body identification. We have to match the dental and medical records and DNA study to identify a person.”

However, when asked if the man appeared to be Kim Jong Nam, he told Channel NewsAsia: “We don’t know him.”

If no next-of-kin come forward, the National Medical Forensics Institute will hold the body until the lab results are out.

Earlier, Selangor’s police chief told Channel NewsAsia that the body would be released to the next-of-kin if it can be satisfied the person is related to the dead man.

The North Korean embassy would then be informed.

North Korea has accused Malaysia of forcing a postmortem on the body and colluding with South Korea. It had wanted custody of the body immediately.

Kim Jong Nam is the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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