The Latest: Chemist: VX Could Kill Without Affecting Others
Published October 5th, 2017
SHAH ALAM, Malaysia (AP) — The Latest on the trial in Malaysia of two women accused of killing Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader (all times local):
Government chemist Raja Subramaniam has testified at Malaysia's High Court that rubbing VX on the eyes and neck would be the fastest way to kill a person, compared to splashing or spraying the chemical. He said VX doesn't vaporize quickly, making it a strategic choice because a person could be targeted without affecting the surroundings.
He agreed Thursday with prosecutors that Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader, didn't inhale VX because no nerve agent was detected on a nasal swab. He earlier said VX was found in Kim's eye mucus, face, clothing and in his blood and urine samples. He said VX was also found on the shirts of the Indonesian and Vietnamese women accused accused of killing Kim, and on the fingernails of the Vietnamese.
The trial ended for the week and is to resume Monday. The judge, lawyers and the two suspects are to visit Raja's laboratory on Monday to see VX-tainted samples from the two women before they are formally accepted as evidence.
A chemist has testified in a Malaysian court that he found traces of VX nerve agent and its precursors on the clothing of the Vietnamese suspect in the murder of the half brother of North Korea's leader.
His testimony has now linked VX to both women accused of smearing Kim Jong Nam's face with poison in a brazen assassination at the Kuala Lumpur airport in February. The chemist said earlier Thursday he found degraded VX on Indonesian suspect Siti Aisyah's clothing and other witnesses have said Kim died of acute VX poisoning.
Chemist Raja Subramaniam said he found VX in its pure form and VX precursors on Doan Thi Huong's jumper, which was seen in airport video emblazoned with the word LOL on the front. The chemist also told the court he found degraded VX on cuts of Huong's fingernails.
A chemist says he found a byproduct of VX nerve agent on the shirt of the Indonesian woman on trial in Malaysia for the murder of the half brother of North Korea's leader.
The testimony Thursday was the first evidence linking VX to either of the two suspects. Previous witnesses have testified the nerve agent was found on Kim Jong Nam's body and belongings and have identified acute VX poisoning as the cause of Kim's death.
Government chemist Raja Subramaniam told the court he found VX acid, a byproduct of the banned chemical weapon, on Siti Aisyah's sleeveless T-shirt.
Raja said VX will degrade when it reacts with water, leaving detectable byproducts, and a person can fully decontaminate their hands by washing and scrubbing.