Two Women Charged With Murder In Death Of North Korean Leader's Half-Brother

Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah

Royal Malaysian Police

Two women accused of killing Kim Jong Nam, the 46-year-old estranged half-brother of North Korea's dictator, were charged with murder on Wednesday.

The women, 28-year-old Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam and 25-year-old Siti Aisyah from Indonesia, were in the Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb. 13 when they allegedly ran behind Kim Jong Nam and rubbed the nerve agent VX on his face, killing him within about 20 minutes.

CCTV handout

The two women appeared in front of court while being protected by special forces, according to BBC News. The women did not enter a plea.

If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

At least one of the women previously said she thought they were performing a prank, and that she had been paid in the past to pull pranks.

People were shocked that one of the women wore a shirt that said "LOL" when surveillance footage of the attack first circulated.

Police also arrested a North Korean man, Ri Jong Chol, who has not been charged yet. Authorities are also seeking seven other people as they continue to investigate the death, the New York Times reported.

Other suspects include a senior official at the North Korean embassy in Malaysia's capitol city and a person who works for the state airline, BBC News reported.

South Korean officials have accused Pyongyang of carrying out the attack and have said four of the suspects are spies for the North.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left), and Kim Jong Nam.

Wong Maye-e, Shizuo Kambayashi / AP

Kim Jong Nam was previously caught in 2001 at an airport in Japan trying to use a fake passport from the Dominican Republic. He told immigration authorities at the time he had wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

The incident is believed to have caused him to be cut off from the rest of the Kim dynasty, and to have ruined any chance he had of succeeding his father, the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. After, he reportedly spent much of his life abroad and criticized dynastic succession in North Korea.

As the women were charged Wednesday, North Korea appeared to be working to repair diplomatic relations with Malaysia, which has had a friendly relationship with the country in the past, by sending a delegate to Kuala Lumpur.

A former deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Ri Dong Il, arrived in the Malaysian capital to discuss bringing the body of Kim Jong Nam back to North Korea, the New York Times reported. He also said he would demand the release of Ri Jong Chol.

LINK: Kim Jong Un Would Have To Be Mad To Use His Nuclear Weapons — But Nerve Agents Are Different

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