KUALA LUMPUR: The woman known as Doan Thi Huong stayed in cheap hotels, carried a wad of cash and cut her hair a day before the murder of North Korean exile Kim Jong-nam.
According to the receptionist at one of the hotels, the woman left early in the morning on Monday, the day of the assassination.
Thi Huong had told police she had been duped into what she thought was a harmless practical joke.
However, staff at two hotels near the airport gave details of Thi Huong’s movements before the killing that appeared both calm and deliberate.
On Saturday, Feb 11, she went first to Qlassic Hotel.
A staff member said she stayed in the cheapest room, which had no windows.
“I remember she wanted to extend her stay here, and was ready to pay with a stack of money in her hand,” said another member of the Qlassic’s staff, a front-desk employee identified only as Sia.
On Sunday, Thi Huong checked into the CityView Hotel, arriving with a suitcase, a backpack and a large teddy bear, the receptionist said, adding that Thi Huong spoke understandable English.
She borrowed a pair of scissors from the front desk the evening before the attack, and a member of housekeeping staff found hair on the floor and in the waste basket the next day.
“She found the scissors on the room desk. There was hair strewn on the floor in the room, (Thi Huong) had thrown some in the bin but there was still a mess,” the receptionist said.
She said the next day, Thi Huong had on the shirt she was seen wearing in an airport CCTV grab that has earned her the nickname “LOL Girl” in Malaysian media.
Thi Huong was out for much of Monday morning and, on her return, she seemed “relaxed” and “didn’t look angry or worried”.
She complained about the Wi-Fi in her room and when she was told it could not be fixed until the afternoon, she checked out and left.
She then checked into the nearby SkyStar Hotel and left after one night, an employee said.
She was arrested on Wednesday morning, about 48 hours after the murder, in the same terminal where Jong-nam was attacked.
“Do her movements indicate she was an intelligence operative, then I would say yes,” said a private investigator in Kuala Lumpur.
“That is how they operate. Change of appearance, cash transactions, no paper trail and constantly on the move.” — Reuters