Kim Jong Nam Was Carrying Nerve Agent Antidote

Court told it was in backpack when he was attacked
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2017 2:21 AM CST
Kim Jong Nam Was Carrying Nerve Agent Antidote
Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong, center, is escorted by police as she leaves the courthouse after her trial in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)

Kim Jong Nam had more than just $100,000 in his backpack when he was assassinated, a Malaysian court heard this week: He had something that could have saved his life. At the trial of alleged killers Siti Aisyah of Indonesia and Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam, a government toxicologist testified that Kim was carrying 12 bottles of atropine, an antidote to nerve agents like the VX that killed him, the BBC reports. The two women are accused of rubbing the VX agent on Kim's face at Kuala Lumpur's airport on Feb. 12 in an attack that he had apparently been living in fear of. "If you know someone is coming after you with a nerve agent, atropine is a key drug you would want to carry," pharmaceutics expert Nial Wheate tells CNN.

Kim, the exiled half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, requested medical attention at an airport clinic. He had a seizure soon afterward and died in an ambulance. It's not clear why he apparently didn't attempt to use the antidote, though Wheate says swallowing it in tablet form may not have helped against a nerve agent as fast-acting as VX, since it takes around 20 minutes to become effective. Doan and Siti claim they were tricked into wiping the toxin on Kim's face, the BBC reports. Their trial, which began two months ago, has now gone into recess until next year, reports the AP. When it resumes, their defense lawyers are expected to shift focus to North Korea's alleged role. Four suspects believed to now be back in North Korea were seen meeting with an embassy official and an airline rep soon after the murder. (More Kim Jong Nam stories.)

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