North Korean ambassador leaves on a jet plane

  • Nation
  • Monday, 06 Mar 2017

Kang Chol seen in his seat as he waits for his flight to take off. - THO XIN YI/The Star

SEPANG: North Korean ambassador Kang Chol has flown out of the country, with his flight taking off at 6.25pm Monday from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Kang Chol arrived at the departure gate just shy of the 6pm deadline to leave the country, surrounded by several police officers.

Uniformed and plainclothes police officers were heard shouting "no photos" as they tried to stop bystanders from taking pictures of the ambassador.

A passenger at the gate was also heard shouting "keluar (get out of) Malaysia" before Kang Chol and his family boarded their 6.25pm Malaysia Airlines flight to Beijing.

Kang Chol, his wife and five-year-old child looked sombre as they sat down in their economy class seats.

The flight crew on board the plane were also seen displacing a passenger who kept taking photos of the ambassador and his family, and put him in another seat.

The flight will land in Beijing at 12.20am Malaysian time, where he is expected to book a flight to Pyongyang.

Kang Chol was declared persona non grata on March 4 and given 48 hours to leave the country after he failed to appear when summoned by Wisma Putra.

He is believed to have raked up nearly RM7,000 in excess baggage fees. He checked in four large boxes, three large luggage bags, and a TV box.

Diplomatic ties between Malaysia and North Korea have soured since the murder of Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 departure hall on Feb 13.

Kang Chol had criticised Malaysia's handling of the investigation, accusing it of being in cahoots with North Korea's enemies.

Malaysia has rubbished the claims, saying that the investigation has been carried out according to procedure.

Malaysian leaders, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, have said they will not allow North Korea to insult the sovereignty of the nation.

Malaysia has since revoked the visa-free status for North Korean visitors travelling here.

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