Malaysia will deport 50 North Koreans for overstaying their visas, the deputy prime minister said Tuesday (Mar 14), in an apparent exception to a departure ban after the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam.
The Malaysian government canceled its visa waiver program with the North in the wake the February 13 murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Kuala Lumpur as the communist country is nearly sure to have been behind the death.
"The Inspector-General of Police has already confirmed that the body has been identified as Kim Jong-nam, based on DNA samples provided by one of his children".
The Harimau Malaysia squad led by Datuk Ong Kim Swee was originally scheduled to face North Korea in the Group B opening match for the qualifying Asian Cup 2019 at the Kim Il-sung Stadium in the country's capital, Pyongyang.
Malaysia had previously been referring to the victim as Kim Chol - the name used on Kim Jong Nam's North Korean passport - and had refused to make an alternate declaration on his identity until DNA evidence had been provided.
"As it is kept in the mortuary, the body might decompose, so we did this to preserve the body", Zahid said.
Kim Jong-nam was not known to be seeking political power, but his position as eldest son of the family that has ruled North Korea since it was founded could have made him appear to be a danger to his half-brother Kim Jong-un.
News of the deportations was a surprise as the countries have barred each other's citizen from leaving amid a diplomatic standoff over Kim's death.
The information is believed to have helped Malaysian investigators conclusively establish the victim's identity as that of the 45-year-old half brother of the North Korean leader.
"We will send the North Korean workers in Sarawak who have exceeded their visa back to Pyongyang for overstaying", he said. They wanted the body and said Malaysia should hand it over because he was a North Korean national.
Police say the other three, including a North Korean diplomat, are believed to be in the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. The suspects have been arrested and charged with the murder.