Pyongyang diplomat caught in illegal trading of rhino horns

One of the two North Koreans arrested on
site for engaging in illegal trade of rhinoceros horns in Mozambique has been
confirmed a Pyongyang diplomat, according to the Voice of America. 

“Of the two arrested North Koreans, one was
confirmed to be Park Chol Jun, a diplomat working at Pyongyang’s embassy in
South Africa,” VOA reported, citing an official working at Seoul’s mission in
the same country.

The two perpetrators, arrested on the 3rd
this month, posted bail the following day and left the country for South
Africa, the official said.

The North Korean mission there paid roughly
30,000 USD for their bail, the South Korean official said.

North Korean diplomats are said to often engage
in illegal activities in other countries.

In March, a Pyongyang diplomat was deported
from Bangladesh after attempting to smuggle in 27kg of gold, while in April, a
couple from the North’s mission in Pakistan was caught selling alcohol on the
streets of Karachi without a license.

“These kind of illegal activities have been
around for a long time, because they stem from structural problems in
operation,” Hong Sun Kyeong from the Committee for the Democratization of North
Korea, who was also a former Pyongyang diplomat in Thailand, said. “Since the
late 1970s, the North has not been giving its overseas missions money to
operate. So not only do they have to make their own money, the state also makes
it a rule that they have to wire back ‘loyalty foreign currency.’”

He added, “Back in the North, they do not
recognize such illicit activities as being illegal, so even if officials are
deported, they can just as easily be sent to missions in other countries.”

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