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Singaporean admits supplying luxury goods to North Korea

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Chong Hock Yen, the 60-year-old director of three Singapore-based companies, pleaded guilty on Thursday to engaging in a conspiracy to supply luxury goods worth almost US$200,000 to the isolated country.

[SINGAPORE] A Singapore man has admitted to supplying luxury perfume, cosmetics and watches worth tens of thousands of dollars to North Korea in violation of United Nations sanctions.

Chong Hock Yen, the 60-year-old director of three Singapore-based companies, pleaded guilty on Thursday to engaging in a conspiracy to supply luxury goods worth almost US$200,000 to the isolated country.

Over nearly six years, the companies supplied items including perfume, cosmetics, watches, and musical instruments to firms in North Korea under Chong's instructions, according to court documents.

One of his accomplices, Li Hyon, a North Korean who helped his father source products in Singapore for his chain of department stores in North Korea, was jailed for four weeks earlier this year for his role.

The United Nations Security Council has put punishing sanctions on North Korea in response to its ballistic missile and nuclear tests.

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Singapore suspended trade ties with the North in 2017, although there have been several cases in recent years of companies and individuals from the city-state being charged for supplying banned goods to the country.

In November, the Singaporean director of a trading firm was jailed for nearly three years for supplying US$4.4 million worth of items including wine, spirits and perfume to the North.

Another Singaporean firm was accused last year of supplying wine and spirits worth about S$665,000 to the North through the Chinese city of Dalian.

In June a UN rights expert said food insecurity in North Korea was deepening and some people were "starving" after the country closed its border with China and took other steps against Covid-19.

AFP

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