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2 SINGAPORE FIRMS ILLEGALLY SOLD LUXURY GOODS TO NORTH KOREA

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by March 13, 2018 Politics

SINGAPORE, Two Singapore-based companies have violated UN sanctions by supplying luxury goods to North Korea, according to a BBC article published on Tuesday morning (Mar 13) citing a leaked draft of a United Nations (UN) report.

The two firms under investigation – OCN and T Specialist – are sister companies and share the same director, BBC said.

The leaked draft alleges that the two companies supplied a range of luxury goods to North Korea, including wine and spirits, until as recently as July 2017, BBC added.

The UN report added that “transactions valued at more than US$2 million (S$2.62 million)” between 2011 and 2014 flowed from an account that the two companies set up in a North Korean bank, Daedong Credit Bank, to T Specialist’s bank accounts in Singapore. The transactions were allegedly proceeds from the sale of goods in North Korea, BBC said.

The final UN report, which has been submitted to the UN Security Council, is likely to be published later this week, BBC added.

Under UN sanctions, it is illegal to directly or indirectly supply luxury goods to North Korea.

Website NK News first reported in July 2017 that Singapore based company OCN had been providing luxury goods for sale in North Korea, in possible contravention of international sanctions.

Citing several anonymous sources, the report alleged that OCN formed joint ventures to run two small high-end department stores in Pyongyang. The stores sell a variety of high-end products, including cosmetics, handbags, watches and liquor from well-known international brands.

The director of OCN (Singapore) Ng Kheng Wah told Channel NewsAsia in a phone interview in July 2017 that the allegations made against him were “baseless” and “fake”.

He said the company pulled out of North Korea five years ago and has never been involved in the trading of luxury goods.

Ng added that OCN was no longer involved in the trading business and mainly acts as the holding company of three properties. Apart from rental revenue, its core business is Malay bridal company Lagun Sari, which is handled by Ng’s twin daughters.

ACRA records had showed that Ng was also the shareholder of another Singapore-based company T Specialist International, which had taken over the lion’s share of OCN’s trading businesses.

Ng said that T Specialist used to focus on the wholesale tile business but after being hit hard by the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, the company diversified into other areas. As of July 2017, T Specialist was a distributor of Pokka canned drinks in China, and dealt with other consumer goods such as instant noodles.

Channel NewsAsia has contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Monetary Authority of Singapore for more information on the leaked draft of the UN report.

Source: NAM News Network

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