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Singaporean jailed for supplying luxury goods to N. Korea

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today Nov 22, 2019
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A Singaporean trading firm director was jailed for nearly three years Friday for supplying $4.4 million worth of luxury goods to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions, the latest case of illicit trade between the countries being punished.




Ng Kheng Wah, 56, was convicted of shipping items including wine, spirits and perfume to North Korea via Dalian in China over six years.

Through his firm T Specialist, Ng sent over Sg$6 million in goods -- which also included cosmetics, musical instruments, watches and jewellery -- to a department store chain in North Korea, according to court documents.

"This sanctions regime will only be effective if every UN member state, including Singapore, uses its best efforts to ensure full compliance," said judge Bala Reddy, as he handed down the 34 month jail term.

"Such illicit international trade also negatively impacts the breaching country's international reputation and raises questions of its commitment to the (UN Security Council) sanctions regime."

The 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 from the city-state charged with supplying banned goods to the North.

In August a Singaporean firm was accused of supplying wine and spirits worth about Sg$665,000 ($480,000) to the North, while last year, two men were charged with supplying luxury goods, including jewellery and watches, to Pyongyang.

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.

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