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Suspect in Kim Jong-nam Assassination Says She Thought It Was a TV Prank

Indonesia's national police chief says the woman claims that she's taken part in stunts where she sprays men in the face with water and allegedly thought this was a similar gag.
February 17, 2017, 5:50pm
Kim Jong Nam at the Beijing International Airport in 2007. Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

A 25-year-old Indonesian woman suspected of helping assassinate Kim Jong-un's half-brother in Malaysia on Monday says she thought the whole thing was a TV prank, the Guardian reports.

Indonesia's national police chief, Tito Karnavian, says the woman—Siti Aisyah—claims that she's taken part in stunts where she sprays men in the face with water and allegedly figured this was another similar prank aimed at Kim Jong-nam. In reality, the spray was a fast-acting toxin that led to Jong-nam's death.

"Such an action was done three or four times and they were given a few dollars for it, and with the last target, Kim Jong-nam, allegedly there were dangerous materials in the sprayer," Karnavian said, according to the Guardian. "She was not aware that it was an assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents."

Siti was taken into custody on Thursday with a man suspected to be her boyfriend after police reviewed CCTV footage of the attack, which took place in the shopping section of Kuala Lumpur's airport. The footage reportedly shows two women—one of whom is suspected to be Siti—approach Jong-nam, hold him in a chokehold, and spray him with the toxin.

South Korean officials say that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un ordered the assassination on his half-brother following a previous failed attempt in 2011, though there is no proof yet that the leader was behind this week's supposed TV prank turned murder.