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North Korea diplomats caught importing excess alcohol into Pakistan

Pyongyang’s envoys are trying to earn foreign currency for the Kim Jong Un regime under heavier sanctions.

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korean diplomats in Pakistan were apprehended in late April for importing alcohol that far surpassed quotas. Photo by Lev Radin/Shutterstock
North Korean diplomats in Pakistan were apprehended in late April for importing alcohol that far surpassed quotas. Photo by Lev Radin/Shutterstock

KARACHI, Pakistan, May 5 (UPI) -- North Korean diplomats in Pakistan were caught attempting to import duty-free alcohol into the Islamic republic that exceeded quotas.

The confiscation took place as Pyongyang's envoys are seeking different ways to earn foreign currency for the regime in response to heavier sanctions against Kim Jong Un, South Korean news network YTN reported.

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Pakistan source Custom News reported Thursday officials in Karachi apprehended cargo from the United Arab Emirates on Friday headed for the North Korean Embassy in Pakistan.

The North Korean mission didn't abide by a Pakistan import quota of 445 boxes of liquor, procuring instead 855 boxes, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

Ashad Jawad of Pakistan Customs Service told the North Koreans the cargo was not diplomatically exempt, and that foreign embassies must abide by the quota, according to reports.

The North Korean Embassy reportedly then said the excess cargo was sent by mistake and that it would be returned to its point of origin.

Pakistan's Federal Board of Revenue is investigating the case, and whether North Koreans have been secretly selling alcohol to hotel buyers.

The incident is not the first time North Korean diplomats have been apprehended for illegal alcohol in Pakistan.

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In April 2015, North Koreans in Karachi were caught selling whiskey and beer inside Karachi's upscale Defence Housing Authority.

In January 2013, North Korean diplomats were caught selling alcohol to local restaurants and international school employees. They sometimes delivered the goods using North Korean Embassy vehicles.

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