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Kim died '15 to 20 minutes' after attack

dpa logodpa 25/02/2017

The dose of poison given to Kim Jong Un's half brother was so high that it killed him "within 15-20 minutes," according to Malaysia's health minister.

Autopsy results on the estranged half brother to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un showed that the lethal nerve agent VX killed him within 15 to 20 minutes, the Malaysian government says.

Kim Jong Nam was allegedly poisoned by two women who wiped the highly toxic chemical agent on his face at Kuala Lumpur's international airport on February 13.

Kim alerted airport officials to the incident, according to CCTV pictures, and was taken to a medical clinic in the airport, where he fainted.

"He died in the ambulance ... I would think it was about from the time of application 15 to 20 minutes," Health Minister S Subramaniam told reporters on Sunday.

"The doses were so high it was so fast and happened all over the body ... that it affected his heart and lungs," Subramaniam explained.

He said only 10 milligrams of the substance needed to be absorbed into the system to be lethal, adding that he assumed therefore a higher dosage was used to kill Kim.

"The doses were so high and it did it so fast and all over the body, so it would have affected his heart, it would have affected his lungs, it would have affected everything."

Malaysia hasn't directly accused the North Korean government of being behind the attack, but officials have said four North Korean men provided two women with poison to carry it out.

The four men fled Malaysia on the same day as the killing, while the women - one from Indonesia and the other Vietnamese - were arrested.

Experts say the nerve agent used to kill Kim was almost certainly produced in a sophisticated state weapons laboratory and is banned under an international treaty. But North Korea never signed the treaty, and has spent decades developing a complex chemical weapons program.

Kim was not an obvious political threat to Kim Jong Un. But he may have been seen as a potential rival in North Korea's dynastic dictatorship, even though he had lived in exile for years.

North Korea has denied any role in the attack.

Earlier on Sunday, Subramaniam said the state chemistry department's finding of the VX toxin confirmed the hospital's autopsy result that suggested a "chemical agent caused very serious paralysis" that led to death "in a very short period of time."

He said the final autopsy report would be submitted to police soon.

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