North Korean diplomat expelled from South Africa for rhino horn trade

South Africa expelled a North Korea diplomat for alleged illegal trading in rhino horns.
South Africa expelled a North Korea diplomat for alleged illegal trading in rhino horns. PHOTO: AFP

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - A North Korean diplomat has been expelled from South Africa for alleged illegal trading in rhino horns, a South African foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday (Dec 24).

"We can confirm that this diplomat has been expelled. He left the country on the 11th of December," Nelson Kgwete told AFP.

Kgwete said the diplomat was arrested in neighbouring Mozambique in May on charges related to rhino horn smuggling.

At the time of arrest, he was driving a vehicle with a South African diplomatic registration.

South Africa's News24 said the diplomat was arrested after 4.5 kilogrammes of rhino horn and US $99,300 (S$140,00) in cash were found in his car.

The news website added that Mozambican police released the man on US$30,000 bail.

South Africa's rhino poaching epidemic saw a record 1,215 rhino killed last year for their horns, which is used as a traditional medicine in some parts of Asia.