Straits Herald August 16, 2019

A Singaporean firm was charged Thursday with supplying large amounts of alcohol to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions, the latest case of illicit trade between the countries.

SINSMS Pte Ltd, an affiliate of a Chinese company, illicitly shipped wines and spirits worth about Sg$665,000 ($480,000) to the North four times in 2016 and 2017, according to charge sheets.

The shipments were sent to an unidentified person in North Korea through the Chinese city of Dalian, which is near their border, the charges said.

The company faces a fine of up to Sg$1.0 million ($719,000) if convicted.

Last year, the US Treasury Department accused the Singapore firm and the Chinese company, Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co Ltd, of having “worked together to facilitate illicit shipments to North Korea”.

It said they used falsified shipping documents to export alcohol and tobacco.

The UN Security Council has adopted sanctions in response to the North’s ballistic missile and nuclear tests, while Singapore has introduced laws to enforce them and in 2017 suspended trade ties with the North.

There have been several cases in recent years of companies and individuals in the city-state allegedly supplying banned goods to the North.

In October, two men were charged with supplying luxury goods, including jewellery and watches, to North Korea.

In 2016, a shipping firm in the city was fined for its role in an attempt to smuggle Soviet-era weapons and fighter jets from Cuba to the North. The company was initially found guilty of two charges, but it was cleared of one count on appeal and had its fine reduced, local media reported. -AFP