Attempt To Smuggle Luxury Car Into North Korea Foiled By Japan: Report

Kim Jong-Un has a liking for luxury cars like Lexus.

An attempt to smuggle a $70,000 Lexus sedan into North Korea was foiled by the police in Japan last week, according to a report in South China Morning Post (SCMP). The car was intercepted on the same day North Korea recalled its ambassador to Switzerland amid an investigation into ivory trafficking, the outlet further said. The car was seized during a raid on a used car showroom on December 7 in Chiba prefecture. Japanese news outlet Asahi Shimbun reported that the showroom had submitted papers stating that the luxury car was being sent to Singapore via Bangladesh.

The owners of the showroom are being questioned and the police are looking at their previous transfers.

The seizure became news because exports of luxury cars and other high-end items to North Korea are banned under a UN resolution.

The ban came into force in 2006 when Pyongyang carried out underground nuclear tests.

NK News, a US-based North Korea-focused news outlet said that Kim Jong-Un is fond of luxury cars and has been previously seen in a Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 and a Lexus LX SUV.

The base price of the Mercedes-Maybach is around $200,000, it further said.

Speaking about the latest seizure to Newsweek, Anthony Ruggiero, senior director of non-proliferation and biodefense at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said, “It may not be Kim directly, but his people know what he likes and what the elites like. They import luxury goods using money earned via sanctions evasion, and they do not use that money for the North Korean people who are suffering under the Kim regime.”

Ruggiero further said that the Kim regime is able to circumvent US and UN sanctions “because Washington is unwilling to sanction evaders, including Chinese companies, individuals, and banks that support North Korea’s sanctions evasion”.

Meanwhile, Han Tae-song, North Korea’s ambassador to Switzerland, is being probed by UN Security Council Sanctions Committee over his alleged involvement in smuggling poached ivory in Africa.

Han, who has served as both North Korea’s ambassador to Switzerland since 2017 and its representative to the UN in Geneva, was also expelled from Zimbabwe in 1992 after being accused of trafficking in rhino horn, reported SCMP.


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