North Korea: Government Officials Involved In Trafficking Illegal Narcotics

4 Aug


A Sky News investigation has uncovered new evidence that North Korean officials are involved in the trafficking of illegal narcotics.

Posing as potential customers, a Sky News crew met up with a North Korean drug dealer in a deserted housing estate in northern China.

He was carrying three packages of what he claimed was pure heroin, produced in North Korea . He said he could easily get more – up to a kilogram – within a fortnight.

He explained how he bribed the North Korean military to smuggle the drugs to China . “I bring out the product,” he said.

“I give around 400 to 500 (North Korean) won (£1.80 to £2.37) to the military unit, and I come in and out every few days.”

But his most startling claim was the source of the heroin. He said he bought it from a North Korean government official, a contact he described as “a close comrade”.

North Korea’s involvement in illegal narcotics is well-documented. Since the 1970s dozens of North Korean diplomats have been caught smuggling drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and even the “date rape” drug Rohypnol.

In 2003, a North Korean ship – the Pong Su – was caught delivering 50 kilograms of heroin to drug dealers in Australia.

Large amounts of heroin, methamphetamine and ecstasy are also believed to flow across China’s 900-mile border with North Korea, but what is not clear is whether the country’s top leaders are involved in the illegal trade.

A 2006 US government report said it was “likely, but not certain” that the North Korean government sponsors narcotics production and trafficking in order to earn hard currency for its leaders.

By some estimates the North Korean regime earns hundreds of millions of pounds a year from its criminal activities.

“We don’t know enough to say exactly how much sanction this may have at the top, but it is fundamentally now a very corrupt system,” North Korea expert Jonathan Pollack of the Brookings Institution said.

“Desperate people do desperate things, and that may include many within the government.”

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