North Korean “man in charge” in Dandong arrested for smuggling

Posted on : 2016-06-13 17:10 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Not clear if arrest is related to enforcement of UN sanctions, as smuggling has long been crackdown target in border area
A building with an exhibition of North Korean goods
A building with an exhibition of North Korean goods

Chinese security authorities reportedly arrested a local North Korean agent in the border area early this month on smuggling charges.

Citing numerous North Korea and China sources, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported on June 12 that Chinese authorities had carried out a late-night raid on the home of a high-ranking North Korean agent in Dandong, Liaoning Province, apprehending the suspect and confiscating gold bars and 30 million yen (US$281,000) in cash. Details were also reported to North Korea’s embassy in Beijing, with Pyongyang dispatching officials to China in response, the report said.

No information was available on the specific charges made by China. In its report, the Yomiuri Shimbun said the North Korean agent had apparently been involved in the smuggling of items subject to import and export bans after the sanctions imposed on North Korea by United Nations Security Council resolutions, and had been known among North Korean traders as the “homeland representative” and “man in charge” during his several years in Dandong.

The newspaper also noted speculation that the operation was intended to pressure North Korea into denuclearization measures.

A local source confirmed the report in a telephone interview with the Hankyoreh the same day.

“I heard about someone [from North Korea] being apprehended after the discovery of illegal smuggling last week,” the source said.

But the source also suggested there may have been nothing particularly unusual about the case.

“Illegal smuggling has always been a crackdown target, and this kind of thing has happened from time to time in the past,” the source explained.

“China has repeatedly expressed its commitment to thorough enforcement of North Korea sanctions in line with UN Security Council resolutions.”

By Kim Oi-hyun, Beijing correspondent

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