Vietnam offers help to Kim murder suspect

Doan Thi Huong has said that she thought she was taking part in a prank

The Vietnamese government appears to be belatedly offering support to a Vietnamese woman accused of murdering Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia.

The Vietnamese foreign ministry said that its embassy in the Malaysian capital was seeking lawyers for Doan Thi Huong, 28, who could face the death penalty if convicted.

The Vietnamese response follows a campaign launched on Facebook to offer support for Huong, who appeared bedraggled and tearful during her first appearance in court on Wednesday.

Vietnam did not acknowledge that Huong was Vietnamese until ten days after her arrest, following the murder of the North Korean leader’s half brother at KL airport on February 13.

Indonesia by contrast has already hired a five person defence team for its national, Siti Aisyah, 25, who was also involved in the attack.

Deadly nerve agent

Both women have claimed that they thought they were taking part in a televised prank and were paid less than $100 to wipe what they thought was baby oil of the face of a man identified by their contacts.

It has since been revealed that the deadly VX nerve agent was smeared on to Kim’s face as he approached the check-in counter at the airport.

There has been a wave of sympathy for Huong on social media in Vietnam. Her carefree lifestyle and cheerful demeanour, as reported by friends and family in a rural town in the north of the country, suggest to many that she’s unlikely to be a hired assassin of one of the world’s most ruthless dictatorships.

South Korean intelligence has claimed that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un ordered the assassination of his half-brother and had been trying to kill him for years.

Vietnam’s bar association approached the government on Thursday, seeking legal assistance for Huong.

The Vietnamese

embassy in KL said it was now providing the woman with consular assistance and would do what it could to protect her legal rights.