Malaysian authorities investigating the murder of Kim Jong-un’s brother are trying to figure out how one of the suspects went from singing pop songs to carrying out high-profile hits.
Police arrested two women for poisoning Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last Monday. Among the suspects was 28-year-old Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam.
Huong was identified from CCTV footage at the airport, where she was seen wearing a shirt with the acronym “LOL” stitched into it.
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She can also be seen attacking Kim Jong-nam from behind in the video of the assassination. She, along with her Indonesian accomplice, are believed to have smeared or splashed a toxic substance onto the victim’s face.
Huong initially said that she thought she was taking part in a prank for a television show; however, Malaysian authorities believe that the hit was intentional.
“We strongly believe it is a planned thing and that they have been trained to do that,” Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said at a press conference Wednesday, adding that he believes the two women coated their hands with the poison.
Huong has drawn the attention of media outlets around the world, but who was she before the assassination of Kim Jong-nam?
Huong originally worked at an entertainment outlet, reports Reuters, which was able to find the suspect’s Facebook page under the name “Ruby Ruby.”
Huong reportedly took part in a talent show called Vietnam Idol in June 2016, but she was dismissed in the first round of the competition.
It is unclear how she ended up assassinating Kim Jong-un’s brother eight months later, but there is a Korean link.
South Korean police revealed that Huong visited Jeju Island for four days in November. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of her Facebook friends are Korean.
There are still a lot of mysteries surrounding the death of Kim Jong-nam, but U.S. and South Korean officials believe that Pyongyang was behind the murder. Kim Jong-nam was the heir apparent in North Korea until he fell out of favor with his father and went into exile abroad, ceding power to his younger brother Kim Jong-un. He was an outspoken yet unambitious critic of his brother, who previously sent assassins to kill Kim Jong-nam, leading the latter to beg for his life.
In the days leading up to the hit at the airport, Huong cut her hair and moved from hotel to hotel frequently. A wad of cash was found at the hotel where she was staying.
Her family has seen very little of her since she left home a decade ago.
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