Latest: Police to sweep Malaysia airport for toxic chemical

Update 3.22pm: Malaysian police are to carry out a sweep of the terminal at Kuala Lumpur's airport where North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un's half-brother was killed to check for possible traces of the toxic chemical suspected to have been used in the attack.

A police statement on Saturday said the operation will start at 1am on Sunday.

The check will involve officers from the police's chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear teams, as well as the hazardous materials unit under the fire department and the atomic energy board.

Since the attack on Kim Jong Nam on February 13, tens of thousands of passengers have passed through Kuala Lumpur's airport.

No areas were cordoned off and protective measures were not taken, though officials announced on Friday that the facility would be decontaminated.

The investigation has unleashed a serious diplomatic fight between Malaysia and North Korea, a prime suspect in the death of Kim Jong Nam.


The Indonesian suspect in the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother was paid US$90 to help carry out the attack involving VX nerve agent, said Indonesia's deputy ambassador to Malaysia.

But Deputy Ambassador Andriano Erwin repeated Siti Aisyah's previous claim that she was duped into the plot, thinking she was taking part in a prank.

Mr Erwin met Aisyah on Saturday in Malaysia, where the 25-year-old is in custody. Another alleged attacker, a Vietnamese woman, also has been arrested.

According to police, Aisyah rubbed VX nerve agent on the face of Kim Jong Nam amid crowds of travellers at Kuala Lumpur's airport on February 13. Kim was the older half brother of North Korea's ruler.

The revelation that VX nerve agent was used in the attack has boosted speculation that North Korea had dispatched a hit squad to Malaysia to kill Kim.

The thick, oily poison was almost certainly produced in a sophisticated state weapons laboratory, experts say, and is banned under international treaties.

North Korea, a prime suspect in the case, never signed that treaty, and has spent decades developing a complex chemical weapons program.

Though Kim Jong Nam was not an obvious political threat to his sibling, he may have been seen as a potential rival in the country's dynastic dictatorship.

Malaysia has not directly accused the North Korean government of being behind the attack, but officials have said four North Korean men provided the two women with poison. The four fled Malaysia shortly after the killing.

On Saturday, police confirmed that a raid earlier in the week on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur was part of the investigation. Senior police official Abdul Samah Mat, who is handling the investigation, did not specify what authorities found there, but said the items were being tested for traces of any chemicals.

Kim Jong Nam, who had been living abroad for years, was approached by the two women as he waited for a flight home to Macau. In grainy surveillance footage, the women appear to rub something onto his face before walking away in separate directions.

Malaysian police said they had been trained to go immediately to the washroom and clean their hands.

Both women seen in the video are in custody.

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