A Singapore-based company sanctioned last year by the U.S. Treasury was on Thursday charged with facilitating shipments of alcohol worth SGD600,000 ($432,384) to North Korea.
SinSMS Pte. Ltd. — an affiliate of the China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co. — stands accused of shipping wine and spirits to the DPRK between October 2016 and January 2017.
Channel News Asia reports that the company shipped alcohol to North Korea via the city of Dalian four times, with the value of the shipments ranging from $96,317 and $144,908 in value.
The company has reportedly been handed four charges of violating Singapore’s United Nations (Sanctions – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulations 2010.
William Lim (also known as Lim Cheng Hwee) was previously listed on a business card obtained by NK News as managing director of the company.
That same business card lists SinSMS’s services as being, among others, “North Korea Freight Forwarding Services.”
Lim, also named in public records from 2017 as director and secretary of the company, declined to comment.
Speaking to NK News over the phone on Thursday, Lim said he no longer worked for SinSMS Pte. Ltd. and refused to elaborate further.
Further requests for a response went unanswered.
The U.S. Treasury last year alleged SinSMS had worked to facilitate illicit DPRK shipments and falsified shipping documents that included exports of alcohol and tobacco products.
“SinSMS Pte. Ltd. is responsible for exports to North Korea and general trading of items from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia,” the press release said.
If found guilty, SinSMS faces a maximum SGD1 million per charge under Singaporean law. The case is set to resume in September, Channel News Asia reported.
But while the evidence in the case may appear to make a guilty sentence almost certain, CEO of NK News Chad O’Carroll, who has extensively covered Singaporean business dealings with North Korea, said he wasn’t so sure.
“While Singaporean authorities have now announced charges on SinSMS, a firm designated by the Treasury in August 2018, it remains to be seen if any punishment will be subsequently meted out,” O’Carroll said.
“Despite widespread evidence and hundreds of charges announced in summer 2018, authorities in Singapore have still yet to commence public court proceedings involving T Specialist and its Director Leo Ng,” he continued.
“Despite the high-profile nature of the charges, the trial has been delayed at least four times and is currently working through pre-trial conferences conducted in private in chambers.”
Edited by James Fretwell