Qatar's foreign workers are purchasing moonshine North Koreans are reportedly producing in the country. File Photo by Philip Lange/Shutterstock
SEOUL, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- North Korean state workers in Qatar are selling crates of illegal alcohol in order to raise "loyalty funds" to support the Kim Jong Un regime.
South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo reported Wednesday North Korean moonshine operations are underway in an industrial area near Doha.
A local security guard in Qatar shouted at a Donga reporter who attempted to investigate one facility, according to the report.
The factory was brought to the Donga's attention after Lee Jong-seol, the chairman of a Qatar-based South Korean business council, told the reporter the North Koreans are "making moonshine in factory dormitories and selling the product, while they bribe guards to block access to outsiders."
The facility appeared to be more tightly guarded than other factories, according to the South Korean press report.
The illicit activities were brought to attention in Qatar after local police caught North Koreans selling the alcohol, which goes by the Arabic nickname "sadiki," or "my friend."
The North Koreans were selling the alcohol without a license in order to raise foreign currency for the Kim regime.
North Korea alcohol sales have been taking place since at least 2014, when North Korea earned approximately $12 million in annual sales of moonshine, according to the Donga.
Alcohol sales also bring more revenue for the regime. North Korean workers working legally as manual laborers earn about $8 million annually.
Qatar also stopped issuing new visas for North Korean workers in May in response to international sanctions. North Korea's response has been to keep workers in the country after their visas have expired and encouraging them to find other sources of income, the report says.
The moonshine is sold to foreign workers from non-Muslim countries like Sri Lanka, according to the report.