Friends say Siti Aishah, 25, the Indonesian arrested over Kim Jong Nam's death, is 'polite' and 'naive' and couldn't possibly be involved in his murder.
PETALING JAYA: Relatives and former neighbours of a woman arrested in connection with the killing of North Korean Kim Jong Nam registered shock when they heard of her arrest, with many saying she is a nice girl.
Siti Aishah, 25, is suspected of involvement in the death of the North Korean leader’s half-brother.
“I was shocked to hear that she was arrested for murdering someone,” her ex-father-in-law Tjia Liong Kiong said in a report by the Associated Press.
“I don’t believe that she will do such a crime or, what the media says, be an intelligence agent, although I don’t know what she had on her mind.”
Intelligence agent or not, details about the mysterious woman are slowly beginning to emerge.
Between 2008 and 2011, Siti Aishah and her husband had lived in a humble house in the Tambora neighbourhood in western Jakarta, AP said.
Quoting Indonesian portal detik.com, The Guardian reported that Siti Aisah had worked for Tjia at a clothing store in west Jakarta, where she met his son, Gunawan Hasyim. The couple had a son, Rio, in 2009.
After giving birth to Rio, Siti Aishah and Gunawan moved to Malaysia to find work but subsequently divorced. After the split, Gunawan returned to Jakarta where Rio now stays.
According to the report, Siti Aishah saw Rio only about once a year.
Detik.com said Siti Aishah last visited her family in Jakarta on Jan 28. Other reports quoted Indonesian immigration officials as saying she had left the country on Feb 2.
The Guardian also mentioned unverified reports from a Chinese website claiming that Siti Aishah was approached in a nightclub and offered US$100 (RM445) to take part in filming a “reality TV prank”.
Back in Jakarta, many of Siti Aishah’s friends may find it believable that she was conned into playing a prank on someone.
A former neighbour, Aminah, described Siti Aishah as “naive” and added that there was no way the young woman could have been a part of Jong Nam’s death.
“Oh my God, how I can believe it? She’s very nice with all people here, she’s so naive.
“How she can kill a great man? No way, it’s impossible,” AP quoted Aminah as saying.
Siti Aishah is one of two women suspects detained over the death of Jong Nam, who was killed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) on Monday.
Her passport said she was from Serang in Banten, a province neighbouring Jakarta. Her date of birth was given as Feb 11, 1992, and her ethnicity as “Jawa”.
She was arrested at a hotel in Ampang early yesterday morning. When making the arrest, police reportedly found a stack of cash in foreign currency, including three US$100 notes.
Police sources said they believed Siti Aishah had abandoned the other woman suspect, who was carrying a Vietnamese passport, and was holed up at the hotel until the “coast was clear” for her to leave the country.
Jong Nam, who is the eldest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, arrived in Malaysia on Feb 6 and was scheduled to board a 9am flight to Macau on Monday. While at klia2, he was approached by a woman who sprayed him with a liquid, while another woman held a piece of cloth over his face.
He asked for medical assistance at the klia2 service counter but died on the way to the hospital.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the media that Jong Nam’s body would be handed over to the North Korean embassy here in accordance with international protocol and after legal procedures were carried out pertaining to the results of the post-mortem, which was completed on Wednesday night.