From LOL shirt to bulletproof vest, poisoning suspects go to court

doan thi huong
Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong, second from right, in the ongoing assassination investigation, is escorted by police officers out from Sepang court in Sepang, Malaysia on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Daniel Chan)

TOKYO (AP) — Because of a grainy security camera photo that went viral online, she is now known to many as the LOL assassin.

But as Doan Thi Huong left a courthouse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, after being formally charged with the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half brother two weeks ago, she had a very different look — red, puffy eyes and a bulletproof vest.

For most people, those first images of Huong were as shocking as they were bizarre — apparently showing her lunging at Kim Jong Nam from behind in a crowded airport terminal while wearing a T-shirt emblazoned in big black letters with LOL, an acronym for laughing out loud.

In this May 4, 2001, file photo, a man believed to be Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, looks at a battery of photographers as he exits a police van to board a plane to Beijing at Narita international airport in Narita, northeast of Tokyo. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
In this May 4, 2001, file photo, a man believed to be Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, looks at a battery of photographers as he exits a police van to board a plane to Beijing at Narita international airport in Narita, northeast of Tokyo. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Huong, who is Vietnamese, and an Indonesian woman were formally charged with murder Wednesday.

Her light-brown dyed hair disheveled and frizzy, Huong was led away from the courthouse handcuffed to a female Malaysian officer.

In court she seemed calm. But as she was taken away wearing jeans and a yellow shirt under the protective vest, she looked out at a bank of photographers and journalists with her face puffy and her eyes red and teary.

The Indonesian suspect, Siti Aisyah, arrived dressed in a red T-shirt under her vest and also wore jeans. Outside court, she appeared more somber, her eyes downcast. She looked tired and her lawyer said afterward she was teary.

doan thi huong and siti aisyah
This combination of Feb. 19, 2017, photos released by Royal Malaysia Police shows detained Indonesian suspect Siti Aisyah, left, and detained Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong are displayed on a screen during a press conference at the Bukit Aman national police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Royal Malaysia Police via AP)

Malaysian police say the two women rubbed VX nerve agent onto Kim’s face, possibly at the behest of North Koreans. Kim was dead within 20 minutes.

Huong, 28, and Aisyah, 25, women deny they intended to kill Kim. They say they were hired to play what they were led to believe was a harmless prank on him for a TV show.

If found guilty, they could be executed.