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IGP: We’ll follow protocol in seeking to question envoy

KUALA LUMPUR: Bukit Aman will abide by international protocol in seeking to question a North Korean diplomat over the murder of Kim Jong-nam.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said since Hyon Kwang-song, 44, has diplomatic immunity, police will go through the proper channels to question him.

“We will ask the embassy (for us) to interview the second secretary. Our written request will go through Wisma Putra ... it (the letter) should be there by now,” he told a press conference during the Kuala Lumpur Police contingent’s Chinese New Year celebrations at the city police headquarters.

Khalid assured that the investigation will continue despite Hyon’s diplomatic status.

“This (interviewing Hyon) is part of the investigation. If you have nothing to hide, you don’t have to be afraid,” he said.

On wire reports that Hyon was seen at KLIA2 escorting the four suspects who fled to Pyongyang, Khalid said he could not reveal details as investigations are ongoing.

On Air Koryo employee Kim Uk-il, 37, who is also among those being sought for questioning, the IGP said: “We have sent a letter to him. We will wait for him. If he comes, it’s okay but if he doesn’t, the due process of the law will take over.”

On North Korea blaming Malaysia for Jong-nam’s death, Khalid said this made no sense.

“Why should we be blamed for the death of their citizen? It could have happened to anyone,” he said, adding that one must understand that a murder had taken place.

On the four North Korean suspects – Rhi Ji-hyon, 33, Hong Song-hac, 34, O Jong-gil, 55, and Ri Jae-nam, 57, – Khalid said police have asked Interpol to put out an alert on them.

He denied that Bukit Aman had despatched a team to Macau to collect DNA samples from Jong-nam’s next of kin.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Malaysia is considering expelling North Korean ambassador Kang Chol or shutting its embassy in Pyongyang, as tensions escalate over the murder.

A senior Malaysian government official said the envoy’s comments had angered Malaysia and it was preparing a response, which could include declaring the ambassador as persona non grata.

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