KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — North Korean Ri Jong-chol, who was deported from Malaysia as there was insufficient evidence to charge him with Kim Jong-nam’s murder, was likely an arms dealer, The Straits Times reported.
The Singaporean daily cited a report by the United Nations Security Council that said a similarly named and aged man had travelled to countries, including Malaysia, since 2012 as an operative of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corp, North Korea’s main arms trader. Jong-chol, 47, was reportedly listed as head of one of its overseas offices.
Jong-chol, who was remanded for two weeks, had reportedly been in Malaysia since 2013, according to his work permit sponsor.
Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was killed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on February 13, allegedly with a lethal chemical weapon called VX nerve agent, according to Malaysian police.
Two foreign women have been charged with his murder.