Chemist says VX byproduct was on Kim murder suspect's shirt


In the trial at Malaysia's High Court, Siti Aisyah of Indonesia and Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam have pleaded not guilty in the February 13 murder of Kim Jong Nam.

Chemical pathologist Nur Ashikin Othman told the court Tuesday that tests on Kim's blood showed a very low level of 344 units per liter of cholinesterase enzyme, which breaks down neurotransmitters in the body that send signals to the brain and control the muscles.

Writing for 38 North, Andray Abrahamian says not only is Donald Trump upsetting Kim by trying to undermine his credibility, his "swipes were in a sense assaults at the heart of North Korea".

Describing the physical property of VX, he said it was the deadliest nerve agent ever created whereby just one drop containing 10 mg, was enough to cause fatal disruption of the nervous system.

Judge Azmi Ariffin ordered the trial to resume Monday at the government's chemical laboratory, allowing attorneys and the defendants to see the VX-tainted samples from the two women.

Traces of degradation elements were also discovered on the fingernail samples obtained from Doan.

"The presence of precursors and VX confirms the presence of VX itself", the expert, Raja Subramaniam, told the court outside the Malaysian capital.

During cross-examination on the third day of trial, Dr Shah said the deceased was identified as Kim Chol based on North Korean passport that he held.

Indonesian Siti and Vietnamese Doan, along with four others still at large, were charged with the murder of Kim Chol, 45, at the KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2) departure hall at 9am on Feb 13 this year.

"The third (factor) is the duration of exposure to the poison, if it is for a short time, there will be less absorption of the poison, and the fourth is the mechanism used to stop the contamination, such as washing hands and donning protective attire which prevents absorption through the skin such as gloves or taking antidotes which stop the poison", she added.

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Gooi Soon Seng, defence lawyer for Aisyah, had disputed the VX findings on Wednesday, before the chemist testified a byproduct was found on his client's shirt.

He said VX will degrade once it is exposed to the atmosphere, and even faster when it is in contact with water, leaving degraded products of VX. Its lethality depended on the dosage and where on the body it was applied.

The judge earlier in the day upheld his ruling that sections of the post-mortem report be removed that defense lawyers said were hearsay or unproven.

Rabiatul said that before Kim had a seizure, she used facial tissue to wipe liquid off his face, but he appeared to still be sweating.

"The last person who wants conflict on the peninsula is actually Kim Jong Un".

The nerve agent is banned by an worldwide treaty as a weapon of mass destruction.

A top Central Intelligence Agency official said Kim Jong Un was a "very rational actor" who wants to rule the rogue nation for a long time.

VX is banned by an worldwide treaty as a weapon of mass destruction but is believed to be part of North Korea's chemical weapons arsenal.

Kremlin insiders fears that the U.S. may attempt to oust North Korea's supreme leader with military force under the President Trump.