A North Korean citizen was recently detained at Vladivostok International Airport in possession of USD$192,300 and 1000 euros in undeclared cash, local customs authorities said in a statement issued to press on Monday.
The man was stopped for questioning by customs officials on his way to board a flight to Pyongyang, authorities said.
“During an unofficial interrogation, the man stated that he had with him undeclared funds and presented them for customs inspection,” the statement said. “The currency was packed in a shoe box that was in a leather bag.”
The money represents over 19 times the legal limit for undeclared cash going through Russian customs, and has been seized.
Article 200.1 of Russia’s criminal code proscribes four years’ “limitation of freedom of movement” or “mandatory public works” for the crime of “Illegal movement of cash… committed on a large scale” and a fine of up 15 times the amount illegally brought into the country.
Asya Berezhnaya, a spokesperson for Vladivostok Customs, was on Monday unable to confirm which day the incident took place, though told NK News it happened on a Friday.
Imagery of the seizure released by authorities of the cash seized shows a computer screen with the November 16 date, suggesting the detention took place in mid-November.
North Korea’s national airliner Air Koryo operates a regular biweekly flight between Pyongyang and Vladivostok, running on Mondays and Fridays.
DPRK citizens also now benefit from a “simplified” free electronic visa when entering Russia via the “territory of the free port of Vladivostok.”
Though the man was not named, imagery also shows a notebook with Korean characters spelling out the name “Cho Myong Guk.”
Vladivostok customs spokesperson Berezhnaya would not comment on the name, nor would she provide any further personal information about the suspect, who she said had been caught by sniffer dogs in operation at Vladivostok airport.
The case is, notably, the second of its kind to be reported by Vladivostok customs in recent months.
October saw news that a North Korean man had been detained at Vladivostok’s Pervomaisky customs post attempting to bring USD$180,000 of undeclared cash into Russia.
The man, authorities told NK News, worked as a ship captain, and entered the country on a DPRK-flagged ship sailing from the north eastern port of Chongjin – a hub for DPRK-Russia trade.
Authorities have yet to release an update on the progress in the case, or any further details on his motives.
Additional reporting by Fyodor Tertitskiy
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons