Chemical agent used to kill brother of North Korea’s leader

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
February 25, 2017World News
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The public poisoning of Kim Jong Nam, which took place amid crowds of travelers in the budget terminal at Kuala Lumpur’s airport, has boosted speculation that North Korea dispatched killers to assassinate its leader’s older brother, who, though not an obvious political threat, may have been seen as a potential rival in the country’s dynastic dictatorship.

Sometime in the hours after poisoning the half brother of North Korea’s leader, one of his two attackers began to vomit, Malaysian police said Friday.

It was apparently an early indication of the immensely powerful toxin that was used in the killing: the chemical warfare agent VX.

While Malaysia hasn’t directly accused the North Korean government of being behind the attack, officials said earlier this week that four North Korean men provided the women with the poison.

The four fled Malaysia shortly after the killing, police say.

VX is an extremely powerful poison, with an amount no larger than a few grains of salt enough to kill.

An odorless chemical, it can be inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. Then, in anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours, it can cause a range of symptoms, from blurred vision to a headache.

“It’s mostly lethal if it’s vaporized. But with skin contact it can be lethal as well, said Dr. Justin Arnold, an emergency medicine doctor at the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham.

“It all depends on how long people are exposed to it,” he said.

Enough exposure leads to convulsions, paralysis, respiratory failure and death.

VX was detected on Kim’s eyes and face, Malaysia’s national police chief said in a statement, citing a preliminary analysis from the country’s Center of Chemical Weapons Analysis.

The two alleged attackers are in custody, along with a North Korean man believed to be an information technology worker at a Malaysian herbal supplements company.

Police are looking for at least seven other North Koreans, including the second secretary of North Korea’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

 

(AP)

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