PHNOM PENH —
The Cambodian government has said it stands ready to assist the Malaysian authorities’ investigation of the recent death of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Jong Nam died at Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13 after apparently being smeared with the VX nerve agent, a chemical listed as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.
Two women, an Indonesian and a Vietnamese, were charged on Wednesday with the murder.
U.S. And South Korean officials have said Kim was assassinated on the orders of Pyongyang. He had lived in exile in the Chinese territory of Macau since falling out of favor with the regime.
Doan Thi Huong, from Vietnam, and Siti Aisyah, from Indonesia, were arrested shortly after the attack and could face the death penalty if found guilty.
Several North Korean men are also wanted in connection with the case.
General Khieu Sopheak, Cambodia’s interior ministry spokesman, said his government would be “happy” to help if Malaysia asked for assistance, a move a foreign ministry spokesman said had not yet happened.
Huong reportedly spent time in Phnom Penh in January, according to posts on her Facebook account cited in media reports.
Officials said they were unaware of any connections between the alleged assassin and Cambodia.
The online magazine Nextshark reported that Huong had stayed at the V Hotel in the capital during a recent visit, citing geographic information contained in photographs she apparently uploaded to Facebook.
“I’m alone here but I’m not lonely. So I’m happy. The happiness is always smile to be an angel,” the post read.
An employee of the V Hotel in Phnom Penh confirmed that Huong had stayed there along with two unidentified men for three days in January.
The hotel employee said Huong had worn a long pink dress. He added that she had checked in with the two men, who appeared to be in their 40s, one thin and clean-shaven and another who was chubby and sported a beard.
“When she came [down] here, she asked me where she could buy second hand clothes,” he added.
Huong was caught on security cameras wearing a t-shirt with “LOL” printed on it, the Internet slang term for “laugh out loud”.
“[She] spoke broken English with [a strong] Vietnamese accent,” he added.
Malaysian investigators said Kim died in the airport’s medical center less than 20 minutes after seeking medical assistance.
The Malaysian, Vietnamese and North Korean embassies in Phnom Penh did not respond to requests for comment.
Huong reportedly believed she was taking part in a comedy prank that would air online.
Similarly, Siti Aisyah said she was asked to take part in a prank, however, the Malaysian authorities said the women were coached in how to carry out the killing by North Korean handlers.
Pyongyang has called Malaysia’s refusal to hand over Kim’s corpse as “illegal and immoral”, while South Korean intelligence on Monday said the North had ordered the killing.