Report: Kim Jong Nam assassination cripples North Korea businesses

Ri Tong Il, a former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, speak to the media at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in February. North Korea’s foreign currency earnings are taking a hit in Malaysia and Indonesia after the assassination of Kim Jong Nam. Photo by EPA

March 22 (UPI) — Southeast Asian sources of North Korea foreign currency earnings are rapidly dwindling in the aftermath of the assassination of Kim Jong Un‘s older half brother Kim Jong Nam.

Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai reported Wednesday the development is part of a larger trend that has culminated in the shutdown of 130 North Korea-operated restaurants in China and in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia.

In Jakarta, North Korea-run restaurant Pyongyang Raengmyon closed on Tuesday. A restaurant spokesman told the newspaper business was not good, and that all North Korean waitresses at the location are to return to their country of origin.

Waitresses at North Korean restaurants generally serve food but also perform song and dance numbers for guests.

The restaurant’s business was adversely affected by news of Kim Jong Nam’s assassination because the incident involved the recruitment of a young Indonesian woman, Siti Aishah, as well as a Vietnamese accomplice, according to the report.

Indonesian police and intelligence may also have stepped up surveillance of the restaurant in the wake of the murder.

Malaysian authorities have said North Korean diplomats may have been involved in the assassination.

Kuala Lumpur has canceled an agreement that allowed North Korea passport holders to travel without visas. Malaysian travel agencies have stopped operating North Korea tourist programs, according to the Japanese newspaper.

Singapore also issued a travel advisory on March 17 to its citizens, urging them not to travel to North Korea.

Views of North Korea in Malaysia were generally positive prior to the assassination, the Nihon Keizai reported.


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