Body of estranged half-brother of North Korean leader has not left the country, health minister says.
The body of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, murdered in Malaysia last month, is still in Kuala Lumpur, health minister Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said on Tuesday, after reports the remains would soon leave the country.
Kim was murdered on February 13 after two women - an Indonesian and a Vietnamese - smeared supremely toxic VX nerve agent on his face at the budget terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, according to Malaysian police.
"We have to check with the forensics department if there was any requirement to bring the body out, but as far as we are concerned there is no change in status quo," Subramaniam told reporters.
He said the next of kin have not come forward to provide assistance on how the body is to be treated.
Media reports on Monday said the body was moved out of the hospital to a funeral parlour and was later being prepared to go on a flight to Beijing.
Malaysia's New Straits Times newspaper reported on Tuesday that the body was expected to go from Beijing to North Korea, without disclosing its source.
Earlier this month, Interpol issued a red notice, the closest mechanism it has to an international arrest warrant, for four North Koreans wanted in connection with the death.
The death has resulted in a fierce diplomatic dispute between two countries that once had strong ties.
North Korea has questioned the Malaysian investigation into the death and refused to acknowledge that the dead man is Kim Jong-nam.
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|Allen L. Jasson|