Singapore-based company charged for shipping S$600,000 worth of luxury goods to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions

A Singapore-based company, Sinsms, was charged under the United Nations (Sanctions – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulations 2010 for supplying luxury items worth more than S$600,000 to North Korea via China-based trading firm Dalian Sun Moon Start International Logistics Trading Co.

The luxury items include wines and spirits which were shipped to North Korea via China’s port city Dalian in Liaoning province between October 2016 and January 2017, on four different occasions. The value of the items shipped on each occasion ranged from S$133,600 to S$201,000.

The United Nations (Sanctions – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulations 2010 prohibits people in Singapore from shipping items to North Korea for repair, refurbishing, servicing, reverse-engineer, testing, or marketing.

Last year August, the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) siad it would target the shipping industry and others who were helping facilitate illicit shipments to the Republic.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin noted at the time that entities based in China, Singapore and Russia employ various tactics to evade such sanctions which are prohibited under US Law.

The recent statement said that Sinsms and its parent company has worked together to facilitate these illicit shipments using falsified documents including exports of alcohol, tobacco, and cigarette-related products.

The US Treasury said that Sinsms handles exports to North Korea and trades in items from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia.

If found guilty, the company faces a maximum punishment of S$1 million fine for each of the four charges. The case is due to be heard again in September.

This isn’t the first time a Singaporean company has been charged with violating the UN sanctions. Back in 2018, a Singaporean company official was charged on 80 counts of supplying luxury goods to North Korea which including musical instruments, watches, wines, and perfume between 2010 and 2017.

Ng Kheng Wah had conspired with a company known as T Specialist International. Ng was charged also with conspiracy to cheat several banks using fake invoices.