SEPANG: North Korean chemist Ri Jong-chol, who had been remanded over the murder of Kim Jong-nam, was deported under heavy guard, escorted by several vehicles to the tarmac of the KL International Airport (KLIA) before being put on a plane to Beijing.
Ri, 47, was freed by the police as there was insufficient evidence. He was led out of the Sepang police headquarters at around 8.50am yesterday.
He was seen wearing a bulletproof vest and was flanked by several policemen, also in bulletproof vests.
He was seated in an unmarked police car, which was then escorted by a convoy of police cars with personnel from the Special Task Force on Organised Crime.
The seven-vehicle convoy went to the Immigration headquarters in Putrajaya to have Ri processed for deportation with members of the Malaysian and foreign media in pursuit.
Just after 9am, the convoy arrived at the building where another group of media personnel had been waiting since 7am.
Some photographers raced to take pictures. However, some of them fell as the cars did not stop, but were driven straight into the basement carpark.
About an hour later, North Korean embassy official Kim Yu-song arrived. He left shortly before noon, but not before a five-minute search when he could not find his car.
He spent it shouting “No comment!” at the media brigade that followed and bombarded him with questions.
Several false alarms later, a large police convoy was seen entering the basement car park at 3pm. Fifteen minutes later, the convoy left for the airport.
At the KLIA, police were seen gathering near the Airports Management Centre.
Ri was driven straight to the airport runway via an emergency entrance meant for Fire and Rescue Department vehicles at about 3.40pm. As usual, he was escorted by armed policemen.
Kim was seen at the airport departure hall, continuing his “no comment” tirade against the media.
Two North Korean Embassy vehicles, believed to be carrying Ri’s family, approached the departure hall entrance and was swarmed by members of the press forcing the occupants to cover their faces.
The two cars were then seen leaving. It is believed that the family then switched vehicles to evade the press.
Another car with an embassy logo was then seen heading towards the runway.
It is believed that Ri’s family was in the car with embassy officials.
The family, however, returned to the embassy later in the day.
Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said in a statement yesterday that Ri was escorted by two North Korean embassy officials on his flight to his homeland.
It is believed that Ri left the country on a MAS flight to Beijing en route to Pyongyang.
Good Ri-ddance to him, says Zahid
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