Kiribati Allegedly Issued Passports To Illegal Arms Dealers
By Mark Willacy
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 5, 2012) – A North Korean company that the United Nations says is a front for illegal arms shipping has reportedly been sourcing passports from small nations, including Kiribati and Seychelles.
The ABC's 7.30 has been shown evidence that the Pacific island nation of Kiribati and the Indian island nation of the Seychelles have both given passports to North Korean directors of a Hong Kong-based company.
Human rights activist Ken Kato says he's discovered documents in Hong Kong in the name of New East International Trading Limited.
He says the firm's two directors are named as Chol Han and Ju Ok Hui, and both identified as North Korean citizens.
"Both men belong to what's called North Korea's "second economic committee," which sells arms all over the world," he said.
"This committee is the subject of both United States and UN sanctions."
As he followed the paper trail, Ken Kato says he found these two North Koreans suddenly changed nationality - listed in official documents as holding passports from Kiribati, then later from Seychelles.
"I have no evidence, but I think both Kiribati and Seychelles knew at the time that these two men were North Koreans," he said,
"They must know that North Korea is spreading nuclear technology and spreading missiles, so it's unforgiveable."
The ABC approached both the Kiribati and Seychelles Governments.
The Seychelles said police and financial investigators are now looking into the allegations.
The Kiribati government did not respond, except for a representative of their office in Tokyo, who said the questions were "rude."
North Korea has used foreign passports before; in 1987, two North Korean agents using Japanese passports placed a bomb in a Korea Air flight, killing 115 people.
Even the top echelons of the regime have flashed foreign passports; in 2001, the eldest son of the late Dear Leader Kim Jong il was caught trying to enter Japan for a trip to Disney land on a fake Dominion Republic passport.
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