At a glitzy bar in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, just a stone's throw from the Petronas Twin Towers, the Beach Club was where 25-year-old Indonesian Siti Aisyah was first introduced to a North Korean man known as James.
Described as shy and attractive by a colleague, Siti was a part-time masseuse at a unisex spa in a KL suburb, Channel News Asia. Siti and James hit it off and met several times before she was coaxed by him to star in a reality TV show.
With the little command of English that he had, James was able to coach her to play pranks on strangers on busy streets in Kuala Lumpur, at malls, train stations and hotels.
Together they executed more than 10 pranks and Siti was paid US$100 to US$150 each time, depending on her performance.
Smitten by James, who was young, fair and handsome, Siti unintentionally snapped a picture of him. It was from her phone that the Malaysian police retrieved a photo of James.
He was later identified as 30-year-old Ri Ji U, the youngest of eight North Korean men wanted by the Malaysian police.