Feb. 18 (UPI) — A suspect bearing a North Korean passport was arrested for the first time in connection to the assassination of Kim Jong Un‘s older half-brother in Malaysia, according to local press reports.
Kuala Lumpur-based newspaper China Press reported the 47-year-old Asian male in possession of a North Korean passport was arrested on Thursday evening.
There is a high possibility the man, who has not been identified, was the suspect who recruited two women, currently in Malaysia custody, to carry out the murder of Kim Jong Nam as he was returning to his residence in Macau.
China Press quoted local police as confirming the man was the mastermind and chief agent behind the carefully planned murder.
Malaysian Chinese-language newspaper Oriental Daily also reported the arrest.
The male suspect may also be the individual who, according to police, was the first to make contact with one of the women in custody, an Indonesian passport holder identified as Siti Aishah.
The man traveled between Malaysia and Indonesia, the report stated.
Oriental Daily reported the suspect might also have cultivated a three-month relationship with the second woman suspect in custody, a Vietnamese passport holder.
The suspect identified as Doan Thi Huong traveled to Vietnam and South Korea several times with the man on shopping and sightseeing excursions. She introduced the male suspect to her parents.
The trips raise the possibility the suspect could be carrying multiple forged passports, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
The man then made contact with Siti Aishah a month before the assassination.
He is believed to have suggested shooting a globally trendy “prank video” with the two women, and rehearsing their moves, according to the report.
Both women have said they believed they were playing jokes and have denied they were aware they were committing a crime.
The identity of the male suspect in custody has not been independently verified.
A second male suspect, a 26-year-old Malaysian national, was arrested earlier this week.