Documentary tells the strange story of the murder of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother

Nearly four years after the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, a new documentary seeks to shed light on the brazen airport murder and the involvement of the two young women accused of carrying it out.

Kim Jong Nam’s killing at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February 2017 was caught on grainy CCTV footage broadcast worldwide, yet many details still remain a mystery.

U.S. director Ryan White spent 2-1/2 years investigating the case for Assassins, which will be released in cinemas and digitally on demand on Friday.

The film focuses on the two women – Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong – who were charged with poisoning Kim by smearing his face with the banned chemical weapon VX and had at one point faced a mandatory death penalty in Malaysia.

Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah being escorted out of a courthouse by armed guards.
Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah being escorted out of a courthouse by armed guards. Photograph: Publicity image

Defense lawyers maintained they were pawns in an assassination orchestrated by North Korean agents. The women said they thought they were part of a reality prank show and did not know they were poisoning Kim.

Siti was freed in March 2019 after a Malaysian court dropped charges against her. Prosecutors dropped a murder charge against Huong, who pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of causing harm using dangerous means, and she went free the following May.

Documentary tells the strange story of the murder of Kim Jong Un's half-brother
Siti Aisyah, who was previously a suspect in the murder case of North Korean leader’s half brother Kim Jong Nam reacts as she talks during news conference at Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta on March 11, 2019. (Reuters/Willy Kurniawan)

South Korean and U.S. officials have said the North Korean regime had ordered the assassination of Kim, who had criticized his family’s dynastic rule. Pyongyang has denied the allegation.

For Assassins, White’s extensive research included travel to Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. But he said hearing from the women themselves was the most crucial factor in finding the reality behind the headlines.

Doan and Aisyah were shown the documentary earlier this week, and while the film got their blessing, Doan expressed regret over some scenes, White said.

Documentary 'Assassins' tells the strange story of the murder of Kim Jong Un's half-brother
Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah

“Her first reaction … was, ‘I wish I hadn’t smiled so much,'” he said, referring to scenes showing the return to Vietnam of Doan, who White said became a target for vitriol on social media and has “retreated into her shell a lot more.”

“They’re both lovely and thankfully survived this experience, but I think their lives will never be the same, unfortunately,” he said.

By : HANNA RANTALA & JONATHAN OATIS – REUTERS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s