Friday, January 29, 2016

Singapore firm fined over North Korea arms shipment

Singapore firm fined over North Korea arms shipment

A Singapore firm has been fined 180,000 Singapore dollars ($125,700;
£87,900) for facilitating a shipment of arms from Cuba to North Korea.
A court found in December last year the Chinpo Shipping Company was in
breach of the UN sanctions on North Korea.
The company paid a Panamanian shipping agent $72,000 (£50,000) for the
passage of North Korean ship the Chong Chon Gang through the Panama Canal.
The arms shipment was hidden under more than 10,000 tonnes of sugar.
The Chong Chon Gang was stopped while navigating the Panama Canal, by
officials who suspected it was being used to smuggle drugs.
Cuba said it had shipped the weaponry to North Korea for repair. It did
not explain why it was hidden under a cargo of sugar.
Chinpo was also fined S$100,000 for operating a remittance business
without a license, for performing hundreds of remittances, worth tens of
millions of dollars, on behalf of North Korean entities.
During the trial, the prosecution said the company often did not provide
relevant names or documents when carrying out transactions, in a bid to
obscure the counterparties involved.
The arms included disassembled radar systems, missiles, MiG fighter jets
and engines, many of which dated from the Soviet era - something the
shipping company attempted to use in its defence, arguing they were
The defence also claimed the aircraft were intended for training, not
battlefield use, although training weapons are also covered by the sanctions
Chinpo director Tan Cheng Hoe, also cited what he said were his
well-known connections to North Korea, stretching back decades, as
evidence that he and his company were not trying to hide their dealings
with Pyongyang, dubbed "proliferation finance" by experts.
He claimed that omitting such details was a common way to speed up money
transfer times.
Both Singapore-based Chinpo Shipping and Pyongyang-based Ocean Maritime
Management (OMM), which operated the seized ship, have been named by the
UN as entities involved in shipping North Korean arms.
Under United Nations sanctions, the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea (DPRK), as it is formally known, is banned from weapons exports
and the import of all but small arms.
The Panama incident was the largest seizure of arms going to or from
North Korea since the UN began its current sanctions on the country in
2006, said the Singapore District Court judge.

Source: Singapore firm fined over North Korea arms shipment - BBC News -

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