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Singapore charges individuals, firms over breaches of N Korea luxury goods sanctions

  • Published at 03:43 pm October 18th, 2018
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A Singapore dollar note is seen in this illustration photo May 31, 2017 Reuters

Police said Chong Hock Yen, 58, and North Korean Li Hyin, 30, were charged for infringing UN sanctions regulations that bar the supply, directly or indirectly, of any export or luxury item to any person in North Korea

Singapore police on Thursday charged a citizen, a North Korean and three companies with supplying prohibited luxury items to North Korea, the latest example of sanctions breaches in the wealthy Asian city-state.

Police said Chong Hock Yen, 58, and North Korean Li Hyin, 30, were charged for infringing UN sanctions regulations that bar the supply, directly or indirectly, of any export or luxury item to any person in North Korea.

Also charged were three Singapore-registered companies linked to Chong - SCN Singapore Pte Ltd, Laurich International Pte Ltd and Sindok Trading Pte Ltd.

"Singapore takes its obligations under the United Nations Security Council resolutions seriously and implements them fully and faithfully," the police said in a statement.

"We will not hesitate to take action against any individual or entity that breaches our laws and regulations."

Reuters could not immediately reach Chong, Li or officials of the companies to seek comment.

Thursday's news comes after a Singapore company official, Ng Kheng Wah, was charged for supplying luxury goods to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions in July. Ng has yet to be sentenced.

In 2016, Singapore fined a shipping company based in the city state, Chinpo Shipping Company (Private) Ltd, S$180,000 for facilitating a shipment of arms to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions.

The police said investigation showed Chong is believed to have helped three companies supply items such as jewellery and watches with precious metals, to North Korea 43 times between 27 December 2010 and 18 November 2016.

Li is believed to have helped two firms supply similar items to North Korea in 14 instances between 17 September 2014 and 5 January 2017.

It was unclear if the cases were related.

Singapore, the site of an unprecedented summit this year between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, says it complies with UN Security Council resolutions imposed on the North to persuade it to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile programme.

Singapore suspended trade relations with North Korea in November last year, when the United Nations toughened sanctions over its weapons program.