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Suspect In Kim Jong Nam's Death Paid $90 For Attack, Used 'Cold War Poison'

By February 27, 2017 at 10:29 am
Cold War chemical was used to attack Kim Jong-nam (Photo : Mat Zain/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Indonesian suspect in the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother, Kim Jong-Nam, was reportedly paid just $90 USD to perform the attack. An Indonesian diplomat made the announcement.

Earlier this month, Kim Jong-Nam was assassinated using a lethal nerve agent named VX at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. Indonesian national, Siti Aisyah, is one of the three suspects arrested by the police, according to The Independent.

Aisyah claimed that she thought she was just doing a prank for a Japanese TV show. This claim was reiterated by Andriano Erwin, Indonesia's deputy ambassador to Malaysia, who visited the suspect in custody.

Another suspect, Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese citizen was also arrested. She also believed that they were only conducting a harmless prank.

VX is a lethal nerve agent which was used during the Cold War, Gizmodo reported. It was initially developed as a pesticide in the 1950s but was found to be more effective at killing people.

It is a highly-flexible chemical which can be mixed into food or drink as well as sprayed like an aerosol. Kim Jong-Nam, on the other hand, was smeared with the chemical on his face, which led to easy ingestion of the poison. A high dose of VX can be fatal within just minutes.

The effect of VX is mainly with neurotransmitters. It stops the production of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine which helps cells and nerves communicate with each other. Without this enzyme, the body would make too much acetylcholine - leading to poisoning and death.

CNN noted that Kim Jong-un's half-brother died within about 20 minutes of the attack. An autopsy of Kim Jong-Nam's body found that his death was consistent with VX nerve agent poisoning.

Dr. Subramaniam Sathasivam, Malaysia's Health Minister, confirmed on Sunday that his last moments would have been painful. Kim Jong-Nam fainted in a clinic and died in the ambulance during transfer.

North Korean Ri Jong-Chol and Malaysian Muhammad Farid Bin Jalaluddin have also been placed in custody.

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