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Court told woman in Kim Jong Nam killing was paid for pranks

AP  |  Shah Alam (Malaysia) 

An Indonesian woman accused of killing the estranged half brother of North Korea's was paid for acting in prank shows at the airport, hotels and shopping malls just weeks earlier, a told the court today.

Siti Aisyah is on trial with Doan Thi Huong from on the charge of murdering by smearing his face with the banned VX nerve agent at the airport on Feb 13 last year.

The two are the only suspects in custody, though prosecutors have said four North Koreans who fled the country were also involved.

The court heard last week that Aisyah was recruited on Jan. 5 last year to act in what she thought was a Japanese video prank show by Ri Ji U, a North Korean posing as a Japanese man named James. She played her first pranks on that day at a shopping mall in and was paid 400 ringgit (USD 102).

Aisyah's lawyer, Gooi Soon Seng, told the court today that Aisyah subsequently played pranks over the next few days from Jan 6-9 as well as on Jan 15, and was paid 650 ringgit (USD 165) a day for her work and taxi fare.

The pranks were carried out at the airport as well as two hotels and two shopping malls in the city, Gooi said during cross examination of Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz.

agreed with Gooi that Aisyah had also told police during questioning that James gave her 1,500 ringgit ($381) on Jan. 16 to purchase a flight ticket to Phnom Penh, He also agreed that Siti referred to herself as "Alice" in her mobile text messages with James.

But he was evasive at many points during questioning, saying he was unsure or couldn't remember details. also said he didn't investigate the photos and videos that Aisyah took of James on her mobile phone as well as the Phnom Penh flight details, items which the Indonesian had downloaded on her page.

Gooi told reporters later that Aisyah's mobile text messages and calls made to James showed it was consistent with the women's contention that they were duped by suspected North Korean agents into believing they were playing harmless pranks for a hidden TV show and didn't know they were poisoning Kim.

"People may lie but circumstances will not lie. We are telling the court that this girl was tricked into playing pranks and persuaded to go to the airport on Feb 13. It's up to the prosecution to prove murder," he said.

Gooi also slammed for his "lopsided investigation" into the case and said the was being uncooperative in court and appeared reluctant to give details in his testimony.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 09 2018. 13:45 IST