Malaysia to deport North Korean workers with expired visas

Two-thirds of the 39 countries that North Koreans can travel to without a visa are in Asia and Africa, including Cambodia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

When authorities in Malaysia were identifying the body of Kim Jong Nam, the late half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, after he was poisoned last month, their evidence was golden - literally. North Korea has fiercely denied that accusation.

Kim Jong Nam had two gold chains around his neck, one with a pendant engraved with family portraits which "links him directly to his next of kin", the New Straits Times newspaper said, adding that physical features such as tattoos and moles on the body also been useful. He declined to say when it was done.

When asked if Malaysia would consider such a move, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi replied: "We are looking into all possibilities". He was carrying a passport bearing the name Kim Chol.

The sources said Malaysia also made inquiries to Japan regarding the location of Kim Jong-nam's son, Kim Han-sol, who is believed to have been living in Macau. They were among 176 North Koreans working in Sarawak.

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Zahid, who earlier said negotiations were ongoing, said Tuesday that about 50 North Koreans detained in eastern Sarawak state for overstaying their work permits will be sent back to Pyongyang soon. However, he did not provice details on when and how will the workers be deported. He had spoken out publicly against his family's dynastic control of the isolated, nuclear-armed North Korea.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak initially accused the North Korean government of holding his citizens "hostage", but in an attempt to ease concerns, he has since vowed the countries will come to a resolution.

The killing triggered a bitter diplomatic spat between Malaysia and North Korea, with each country expelling each other's ambassadors and refusing to allow each other's citizens to leave.

Police say the other three, including a North Korean diplomat and an employee of Air Koryo, North Korea's state airline, are believed to be in the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

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