MANAMA, BAHRAIN, DEC. 5 -- South Korean officials asked Bahrain today for the custody of a woman and the body of her male companion who are suspected of planting a bomb aboard a Korean Air jetliner that disappeared earlier this week, diplomatic sources said.
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bahraini officials refused to release either the woman or the man's body until their identities and nationalities were determined.
The Asian couple, who were traveling with forged Japanese passports, swallowed poison pills Tuesday while waiting to be questioned about the disappearance Sunday of KAL Flight 858, which was carrying 115 people. The man died, but the woman recovered.
She was moved from a military hospital to an unspecified "safe place" while "undergoing investigation by authorities" from South Korea and Japan, the Information Ministry said today.
Japanese sources, also speaking on condition that they not be identified, said Bahrain security officials told them that the woman was refusing to talk.
In Seoul, South Korean authorities compared the fingerprints of the dead man with those of known criminals and international terrorists. They said today that none matched.
Authorities in Seoul believe that the couple may have planted a bomb aboard the jetliner in a plot by pro-North Korean extremists to disrupt South Korea's Dec. 16 presidential elections and the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
North Korea today denied any involvement.
"The South Korean passenger plane missing has nothing to do with us," it said in a statement carried by its official news agency.
The couple arrived in Bahrain Sunday after flying in the Korean Air jetliner from Baghdad, Iraq, to Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.
The Boeing 707 left Abu Dhabi and disappeared near the border of Burma and Thailand. No trace of it or of the 115 people aboard has been found. Officials in Thailand have said they were "99 percent sure" the jetliner blew up and went down in the Andaman Sea.