South Koreans authorities confirmed that near $6 million worth banned North Korean coal and pig iron shipments have been smuggled into the country disguised as Russian origins, a move that is in violation with the United Nations resolution, said the country’s customs agency on Friday.
According to investigation results announced by Korea Customs Service on Friday, three South Korean importers brought in 6.6 billion won ($5.8 million) worth North Korean coal and pig iron through seven shipments from April to October last year. The cargoes of 35,038 tons of North Korean minerals were transshipped at a port in Russia and were brought into South Korea disguised as Russian products.
Roh Suk-hwan, vice commissioner of the Korea Customs Service, announces the results of the investigation into North Korean coal imports at government complex in Daejeon on Friday. [Photo by Han Joo-hyung]
The latest results come after South Korea’s customs agency launched a probe into 9 suspected cases in October last year, after obtaining related intelligence. The agency was able to confirm illegality in seven cases and referred them to the prosecution for criminal investigation on three individuals and three enterprises.
Korea South-East Power Co., a subsidiary of state utility firm Korea Electric Power Corporation, came under probe for trading with one of the suspected importers of North Korean coal.
The regional power company is suspected to have received 9,703 tons of North Korean coal in October last year.
Under the UN Security Council Resolution 2371 passed in August last year following North Korea’s missile and nuclear test, shipment entry, trade, and transshipment of North Korean coal, iron ore, and other mineral resources are banned.
South Korea came under fire for laxity in compliance with the sanctions amidst détente towards North Korea.
By Sohn Il-seon and Lee Eun-joo
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