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Kaohsiung company owner suspected of selling oil to North Korea

2018/01/03 22:29:44

File photo/photo courtesy of Kyodo News

Kaohsiung, Jan. 3 (CNA) The owner of a fishery company in Kaohsiung is being investigated on suspicion of illegally selling oil to North Korea, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office said Wednesday after questioning the suspect.

During questioning of the suspect on Tuesday, prosecutors learned that his Kaohsiung-based company had made a false export declaration for cargo on a leased freighter, which was believed to have been transshipping oil to vessels bound for North Korea, the office said.

Prosecutors also think the suspect was aware that the freighter was selling oil on the open seas, instead of to Hong Kong, the destination entered on the ship's export declaration, the office said.

After questioning, the suspect was released Wednesday on bail of NT$1.5 million (US$50,700) and has been barred from leaving the country, while the investigation into his alleged violations of the law is continuing, prosecutors said.

The case came to the attention of Taiwan's law enforcement after the local media reported that South Korea last October seized a Hong Kong-registered freighter that was transshipping oil to North Korean vessels on the open seas in violation of United Nations' sanctions against North Korea.

Citing the South Korean government, the reports said the freighter had been leased by a Taiwanese company.

After learning of the alleged involvement of a Taiwanese company, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office decided to launch a probe.

(By Chen Ja-fo and Elizabeth Hsu)