Doc: Jong-nam died of acute VX poisoning

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 04 Oct 2017

SHAH ALAM: A man by the name of Kim Chol who was rushed to Hospital Putrajaya after a supposed attack at the KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2) died of an acute VX nerve agent poisoning, a High Court heard.

The court was also told of no other contributing factors to the man’s death apart from acute VX poisoning.

Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood, 57, a forensic pathologist at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), testified that the body was brought into the emergency department of Hospital Putrajaya at 11am on Feb 13, this year.

He said a police officer – an assistant superintendent – told him that the man's name was Kim Chol.

“His height was 173cm and he weighed 96kg,” the witness said.

Dr Mohd Shah was testifying in the trial of Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, who are both charged with four others still at large, with the murder of Kim, 45, at the departure hall of the KLIA2 at 9am on Feb 13.

Kim Chol is the alias used by Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, when he travelled.

Questioned by DPP Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, Dr Mohd Shah said there was no other contributing factor to the victim's death apart from acute VX poisoning and that from internal examinations, the body showed congestion of internal organs and lung oedema.

Externally, the body had minor marks of trauma on the upper and lower lips in the form of a bruise, abrasion and a small laceration that could have been caused while emergency medical treatment was being carried out, he said.

“It is also possible for the deceased to have bitten his own lips during seizure,” Dr Mohd Shah said.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that pathologist Dr Norashikin Othman of HKL, who conducted the analysis on Kim Chol’s enzyme sample, said the level of cholinesterase was low at 344 units per litre (UL).

The normal range of the enzyme for males is between 5,320 UL and 12,290 UL units, said the fifth witness of the case.

The low level of the enzyme cholinesterase in Kim Chol’s body could have been caused by exposure to pesticides or nerve agent poison, she added.

Dr Norashikin said the level of cholinesterase in Siti Aisyah was 6,781 UL while in Doan, it was 7,163 UL, adding that both levels were normal.

The enzyme, she said, served to break apart the neurotransmitter which sent signals to the muscles and nerves to contract, and be in a relaxed state.

The balance between the functions of the neurotransmitter and enzyme cholinesterase is necessary to ensure that the process of contraction is at a normal level.

If the enzyme is at a low level in the body, a person’s muscles and nerves could be in a continued state of contraction, she said.

The hearing continues before Justice Azmi Ariffin today.


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