A Singapore-based shipping company Chinpo was found guilty of facilitating the armament shipment which Deputy Prosecutor Sandy Baggett of Singapore’s Economic Crimes and Governance Division believe to have potential use in North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs.
Chinpo Shipping was caught for making payments amounting to S$72,000 on behalf of a United-Nations-sanctioned North Korean shipping company, Ocean Maritime Management, which was previously caught for smuggling arms through the Panama Canal.
The goods found were disassembled fighter jets, Soviet-era radar systems and ammunition, concealed under 10,000 tons of sugar.
Chinpo Shipping also made a total of 605 payments amounting to S$40 million to North Korea businesses between April 2009 and July 2013.
During the court hearing, the 82-year-old director of Chinpo Shipping, Tan Cheng Hoe mentioned that the Singapore government is well-aware of his dealings with North Korea since the LKY-era of 1970s. Singtel, a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, hired Chinpo’s services to claim unpaid bills of a North Korean client. Dr Paek, a North Korea energy expert at London-based think tank Chatham House also commented that “Singapore was always their way of handling this kind of thing.”
The sentencing of Chinpo will be on Jan 29, 2016 and the director face a maximum fine of S$100,000 and five years jail for the charge breaching UN trade sanctions and another S$100,000 for conducting illegal remittance services.
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