Russia’s intelligence agency has launched a police probe after two North Koreans were found dead in the same hotel in the west of Russia’s capital. Surprisingly, they both suffered acute heart failure before they died in separate rooms. There are also two more North Koreans residing in the same premises that have been rushed to hospital.
The two men had complained of severe chest pains and shortness of breath on Saturday. Russia’s equivalent of the FBI has launched a probe after reports of the other two North Koreans that have been admitted.
The list extends to five other men who are believed to be ill. However, they are non-Russian. Chkhe Men Sen was the first to die, as soon as the paramedics arrived at Gorodskoy Hotel in Yermakova Roscha Street in central Moscow, the 37-year old was already dead. After a short while, Khon Gim Chkol died as ambulance doctors sought to resuscitate him.
The other two North Koreans aged 34 and 41 had a fever of unknown origin. They were taken to a Moscow infectious disease hospital. Their condition remains known. An unknown number of citizens have since been removed from the hotel by North Korean officials.
Russian reports indicate that the deaths took place overnight between Friday and Saturday. Rospotrebnadzor, which is a Russian health watchdog, as well as police and the Investigative Committee are investigating the cause of the sudden illness.
This comes just months after the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was murdered at Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia. Kim Jong-nam was targeted by Assassins using a deadly nerve agent.
Although Malaysia never directly accused North Korea of carrying out the attack, speculation is rampant that Pyongyang orchestrated a hit on Kim Jong-nam. Kim was estranged from his family, he was not an obvious political threat, he may have been seen as a potential rival in the country's dynastic dictatorship. The assassination caused diplomatic tensions between North Korea and Malaysia.