The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met an unidentified American on a tourist island in Malaysia four days before he was assassinated in a Cold War-style hit, a court heard Monday.
Kim Jong-Nam met the man at a hotel in Langkawi on Feb. 9, 2017, a witness told the trial of two women accused of the killing that stunned the world.
Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong allegedly rubbed VX nerve agent on Kim's face at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13 as he waited to board a flight to Macau.
Kim died in agony shortly afterwards and the women were arrested days later.
The pair, who face death by hanging if convicted, have pleaded not guilty and said they were tricked into believing they were part of a prank reality TV show, with their lawyers blaming North Korean agents.
South Korea also has accused North Korea of ordering the murder, an allegation it denies.
At Monday's trial, defense lawyer Gooi Soon Seng questioned senior investigating police officer Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz about an article last year in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, which had reported the meeting in Langkawi.
The Asahi reported that Kim had met a U.S. intelligence agent in Langkawi.
A police computer forensics report showed that a laptop owned by Kim was last used Feb. 9, the day of the Langkawi meeting, and that a USB pendrive had been connected to it that day.
Wan Azirul agreed with Gooi's statement that Kim met a "Korean-American based in Bangkok" at the hotel.
But the officer was unable to reveal the identity of the American or the name of the hotel, often replying to Gooi's questions that he was either unsure or did not remember.
Kim returned to Kuala Lumpur from Langkawi on Feb. 12, the day before he was killed. He had arrived in Malaysia from Macau on Feb. 6.