Family believes Vietnamese suspect in Kim’s death was duped

Family believes Vietnamese suspect in Kim's death was duped

NGHIA BINH, Vietnam — The family of a Vietnamese woman identified as a suspect in the death of the half brother of North Korea’s ruler confirmed Tuesday that she is their relative, but said they believe she didn’t knowingly participate in the killing.

Doan Thi Huong is thought to be one of two women seen approaching Kim Jong Nam on Feb. 13 at a Malaysian airport. Kim died later after telling airport personnel that he had been sprayed in the face with a liquid.

Huong and a female suspect from Indonesia have been arrested by Malaysian authorities, along with two men carrying identity documents from North Korea and Malaysia.

Speaking at their simply furnished house in a farming village in Nam Dinh province, Doan Van Thanh, 63, confirmed that Huong is his daughter but said he couldn’t believe she would commit such a crime.

“How could she have dared to do such an earth-shaking thing?” Thanh said. “She was scared of rats and toads, she would not have dared to do it.”

Huong’s niece, 18-year-old Dinh Thi Quyen, said she believes Huong was fooled into taking part.

“My aunt is a very nice and kind person, but she easily trusted other people,” Quyen said. “I believe that my aunt was duped into doing it.”

Indonesia’s police chief has also said that the other female suspect, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, had been fooled into thinking she was part of a comedy show prank that involved spraying men in the face with water.

Thanh, a Vietnam War veteran who lost his right foot in a land mine explosion, said police visited him after Huong was arrested to check her identity and offered to help protect her rights.

Thanh said his daughter left the village about 10 years ago to study at a pharmacy school in Hanoi, about 130 kilometres (80 miles) away, and only occasionally returned home, where she had few friends.

The last time the family saw her was during the Lunar New Year holiday in late January, when she spent five days at home.

Her niece, Quyen, said Huong called her on Feb. 14, one day after Kim’s death, and asked her to buy a prepaid cellphone card so Huong could transfer the card’s cash value to a shop in Hanoi to pay for a deposit on a dress she liked. Quyen said she purchased the card and sent its identifying number to Huong, but it wasn’t clear whether it was then sent to the shop.

Quyen said after the family heard that Huong was arrested in Malaysia, they tried to call her, but could not get through.

Vietnam’s state media have reported extensively on Kim’s death, but didn’t mention the arrest of a Vietnamese citizen until Monday.

The government has said it is still working with Malaysian officials to confirm Huong’s identity.

Tran Van Minh, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Big Reds a big hit at Big White

More than 600 people turned out on the weekend for annual red wine festival

RCMP hunt for suspect in West Kelowna bank robbery

Suspect used a note and fled bank Saturday with an undisclosed amount of cash

Community Leader Awards: Shelley Pacholok

The Kelowna Capital News honours those who give back in the community

International Arts Festival returns to Kelowna

Living Things is a month-long festival with live performances by artists from around the world

Legion bell prank hits sour note

Anger erupts after Summerland Legion member removes bell from Peachland Legion

Steve Miller and Peter Frampton headed to Kelowna

Concert announced for Kelowna April 18

Firefighters protect seaside California towns as blaze rages

A flare-up on the western edge of Southern California’s largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday

Putin declares victory on visit to air base in Syria

Declaring a victory in Syria, Putin on Monday visited a Russian military air base in the country and announced a partial pullout of Russian forces from the Mideast nation.

SAR search for missing skier at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Joseph Stelcasky was reported missing Sunday afternoon

Pipe bomb explodes in NYC subway

Pipe bomb strapped to man explodes in NYC subway, injuring 4

Toronto FC to hold victory parade following MLS Cup championship

Toronto FC to hold downtown victory parade following MLS Cup championship

Canada’s only commercial spaceport hopes to launch 12 rockets per year

Nova Scotia’s rocket launch site hopes to eventually host 12 launches per year

‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globes

The nominees were announced from Beverly Hills after still-burning fires ravaged Southern California for the past week.

Acclaimed rockers Shinedown to perform in Penticton

Shinedown kick off their Canadian tour in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre

Most Read