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North Korean detained by Vladivostok customs for “large scale” cash smuggling

North Korean detained by Vladivostok customs for “large scale” cash smuggling

Authorities at Vladivostok’s Pervomaisky customs post on Tuesday detained a North Korean citizen for bringing USD$180,000 in undeclared cash into Russia, local customs officials reported.

The money – more than 15 times the legal limit – was being kept in black plastic bags, photos released by customs suggest.

Article 200.1 of Russia’s criminal code proscribes four years imprisonment or forced labor for the crime of “Illegal movement of cash… committed on a large scale” and a fine of up 15 times the amount brought into the country.

“As of now, the money which had been illegally taken into the country was seized,” a statement by the Vladivostok customs press service read.

“They are deliberating on opening a criminal case, per the article ‘contraband of cash money in extremely large quantities.’”

The North Korean entered the country, the statement continued, on a DPRK-flagged ship sailing from the north eastern port of Chongjin – a hub for DPRK-Russia trade.

The port city is home to 55 Russian employees of Rajin’s RasonConTrans JV – a joint venture which oversees DPRK-Russia coal trade.

Asya Berezhnaya, a spokesperson for Vladivostok customs told NK News that the North Korean man had served as captain of a ship she called the “Tu Ru Bong 2.”

No vessel of that name appears in the NK Pro Ship Tracker, though a DPRK-flagged general cargo ship called the Tu Ru Bong was previously a regular visitor to China.