Director of 3 firms which supplied luxury goods to North Korea jailed 3 weeks

A scene in Pyongyang, the capital North Korea. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
A scene in Pyongyang, the capital North Korea. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A director of three companies which supplied luxury goods to North Korea was jailed for three weeks on Monday (12 October).

Chong Hock Yen’s three firms, SCN Singapore, Sindok Trading and Laurich International – all in the business of wholesale trade – were fined $120,000, $10,000 and $10,000 respectively.

All three had supplied luxury items to four entities in North Korea: a department store chain called Bugsae Shop, Korea Jangsaeng Trading Corporation (Pyongyang), MG Corporation and New Hope Joint Venture Corporation (Pyongyang). These items include perfumes, cosmetics and watches.

The bulk of the items were supplied by SCN to Bugsae Shop, which was owned by Li Ik, a North Korean. Chong, 60, supplied the goods via air and sea shipment through China, and by hand at airports, on 43 occasions. He knew that he was in breach of the UN (Sanction — Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulations 2010.

Payments to Chong’s companies were made through fronting firms incorporated in various countries.

Between late 2014 and early 2017, Li Hyon – Li Ik’s son – served as a liaison between Li Ik and SCN, and facilitated SCN’s supply of luxury goods to North Korea. He was the only one who could contact his father when the latter was in North Korea. Li Hyon, who studied in Singapore prior to 2014, also brought items across the border to Bugsae Shop on three occasions.

Chong admitted to conspiring with SCN, Li Ik, his secretary Lam Hon Lan and Li Hyon to supply luxury goods valued at some $265,696 to North Korea on eight occasions between 2011 and 2016, in breach of regulations. The total value of goods provided, including charges that were taken into consideration, is over $575,000. He earned a profit of about $122,117.

SCN admitted to supplying luxury items to North Korea on six occasions between 2011 and 2015, while Sindok and Laurich each admitted to supplying the items on one occasion in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Li Hyon was previously jailed four weeks for his role in supplying luxury goods to North Korea.

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