• Cause of death also still unconfirmed.
  • Authorities say next-of-kin have not come forward to help formal identification.
  • Post-mortem rules out heart attack as cause of death.

Malaysian authorities have still not formally confirmed the identity of the North Korean man who died in mysterious circumstances at Kuala Lumpur airport on 13 February. Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong-un, is believed to have been assassinated while waiting in the departure hall of Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2.

Health Department Director-General Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that the next-of-kin of Jong-nam have yet to come forward to help authorities formally identify the body.

Earlier local news reports said that Jong-nam's 22-year-old son, Han Sol, was possibly already in the country to identify the body and provide DNA samples.

Noor Hisham said that the authorities were looking at alternative means of identifying the body if the next-of-kin fail to show up within 14 days after the post-mortem results are received.

"Other ways of identifying the body include [using] dental records to match the victim, and external examination [of distinctive marks] like scars, moles and previous surgeries," he told a news conference at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

He also pointed out that the North Korean embassy had yet to provide dental or medical records to help identify the victim, widely believed to be Jong-nam.

When asked if facial identification had been carried out and if the North Korean ambassador had viewed the body, Dr Noor Hisham told Channel News Asia: "Yes, that's under external post-mortem looking for facial identification, scars, moles and what have you.

"So in short we have the dental identification, fingerprints, DNA and external facial and body identification. We have to match the dental and medical records and DNA study to identify the person."

When pressed whether the victim "appeared to be Jong-nam", the director-general said: "We don't know him."

He said medico-legal specimens collected during the post-mortem were handed over to the investigating police officer immediately after the autopsy to be sent to accredited laboratories for analysis.

"These analyses are meant to confirm the identity of the deceased person and also the cause of death; both of which are still pending at the moment." He dismissed earlier reports that a second autopsy was performed.

Autopsy rules out heart attack

He also dismissed claims by North Korea's ambassador Kang Chol that the deceased had died of a heart attack. There was no evidence to back such a claim, he said.

"There was also nothing obvious [on the body], such as marks, scars or wounds," he added.

The post-mortem was carried out on 15 February and completed on the same day, in line with Malaysia's Criminal Procedure Code, which requires the presence of the investigating police officer.