Man admits to unlawfully supplying luxury goods worth nearly $580k to North Korea

The DPPs said that Chong Hock Yen was aware that such transactions were in breach of the law.
The DPPs said that Chong Hock Yen was aware that such transactions were in breach of the law.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A director of three companies admitted in a district court on Thursday (Sept 17) that he had unlawfully supplied luxury goods worth nearly $580,000 to North Korea.

They include perfumes, cosmetics and watches "clad with a precious metal".

Chong Hock Yen heads three locally based firms: SCN Singapore, Sindok Trading - which is now known as BSS Global - and Laurich International, which has been renamed Gunnar Singapore.

He was also the sole decision-maker for all three.

The 60-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty to eight counts of engaging in a conspiracy to supply luxury items worth nearly $270,000 to North Korea.

Another 35 similar charges linked to the remaining amount will be considered during sentencing.

The three firms also admitted to similar offences on Thursday.

SCN pleaded guilty to six charges involving luxury goods worth more than $220,000 while Sindok and Laurich admitted to one charge each.

Sindok's charge involved luxury goods worth more than US$10,000 (S$13,600) and Laurich's was linked to goods worth US$12,000.

The court heard that due to United Nations sanctions, it is illegal for anyone in Singapore to supply, sell or transfer designated luxury items to North Korean entities.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Grace Lim, Thiam Jia Min and Charis Low stated in court documents that the companies supplied luxury items to four entities in North Korea from December 2010 to November 2016.

 
 
 

They are: Bugsae Shop, Korea Jangsaeng Trading Corporation (Pyongyang), MG Corporation and New Hope Joint Venture Corporation (Pyongyang).

SCN had supplied the bulk of the goods to Bugsae Shop, which is owned by North Korean Li Ik.

His son, Li Hyon, had studied in Singapore before helping his father with the luxury goods business here.

The goods were sent to North Korea in three different ways: by air and sea through China or by hand through airport check-ins.

The DPPs said that Chong was aware that such transactions were in breach of the law.

They added that on Sept 25, 2017, Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department received information that SCN had "significant sales to more than one entity" in North Korea.

 
 

Li Hyon was jailed for four weeks earlier this year after pleading guilty to four counts of engaging in a conspiracy with other people and two companies, including SCN, to deliver luxury goods such as cosmetics and spirits to North Korea.

Chong's bail was set at $100,000 on Thursday and he will be sentenced on Oct 12.