TAIPEI: Taiwanese authorities are investigating a local fishing company owner who is suspected of helping arrange the transfer of fuel oil to North Korea in defiance of international sanctions. The case, if proved, would reveal a type of undercover deal that experts say periodically takes place in Asia despite a growing list of economic sanctions imposed on North Korea to pressure the communist country to quit testing long range missiles. President Trump said via Twitter on Friday that China had been “caught RED HANDED” for “allowing oil to go into North Korea.” His tweet came after a South Korean newspaper reported that U.S. spy satellite images showed Chinese ships transferring oil to North Korean ships on the high seas in October. South Korean authorities seized one ship, which was registered in Hong Kong. The district prosecutor’s office in Taiwan’s major southern port city of Kaohsiung said it had launched its inquiry on Saturday after Taiwan’s Justice Ministry brought to its attention a South Korean media report linking a Taiwanese company to ships registered in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong. The fishing company owner, identified by authorities only as 54 and with the surname Chen, posted bail of about $50,700 and was ordered not to leave Taiwan. Prosecutors questioned him this week and say they will keep investigating.
Six people from the prosecutor’s office “discovered after questioning that defendant Chen in 2017 had knowingly used ships to sell petroleum products on the high seas and had falsely written Hong Kong as the destination on the export declaration,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.