A government chemist said on Thursday that he found a byproduct of VX nerve agent on the shirt of the Indonesian woman on trial in Malaysia for the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader. The Associated Press reported that this testimony was the first evidence that has connected VX to either of the two murder suspects.
Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, a Vietnamese, are charged with killing Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with VX, a chemical poison banned by the United Nations, at Kuala Lumpur's international airport on Feb. 13.
Earlier witnesses had identified acute VX poisoning as the cause of Kim's death and testified that the nerve agent was found on Kim Jong Nam's body and belongings.
Raja Subramaniam, the chemist told the court that he found VX acid, a byproduct of the banned chemical weapon, on Siti Aisyah's sleeveless T-shirt. He added that when reacted with water, VX will degrade and leave detectable byproducts. According to the chemist, a person can fully decontaminate their hands by washing and scrubbing.
Meanwhile, the suspects, who can face the death penalty if convicted, claim that they were duped into believing they were taking part in a reality TV show and they were paid to commit the crime.
The death of Kim Jong-Nam, who was about to board a flight to Macau, sparked a serious diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea, with Kuala Lumpur expelling the North's ambassador and Pyongyang banning Malaysians from leaving the country. North Korea was accused by Seoul for being responsible for the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged relative, a charge Pyongyang denies.
But, the tensions were finally eased after Malaysia agreed to the return of Kim body to Pyongyang. Nine Malaysians, who were prevented from leaving Pyongyang, were also freed and three North Koreans in Malaysia were allowed to go home, under the terms of the agreement.