S'pore firm charged with offences possibly linked to North Korea's WMD programme

SINGAPORE - A Singapore-registered shipping company was charged on Tuesday with transferring financial assets or resources that may reasonably be used to contribute to North Korea's nuclear- and ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) related programme.

Chinpo Shipping Company's accounts executive Tan Hui Tin, 50, was also brought to court for intentionally aiding her father, Mr Tan Cheng Hoe, 80, the chairman of the company, in not handing over electronic records required by the police.

The company allegedly transferred US$72,017 from its Bank of China account to one C.B. Fenton and Co., a shipping agent at Panama Canal, on July 8 last year, having reason to believe that the sum may be used to contribute to the nuclear and other WMD activities of North Korea.

The company also faces a second charge of having carried on a remittance business without a valid licence between April 2009 and last July.

Defence counsel Edmond Pereira asked for four weeks' adjournment. A pre-trial conference has been set for Aug 1.

Tan, the company representative, is said to have helped her father to omit to produce a server CPU and two thumbdrives to Commercial Affairs Department officer Tan Wan Nee between Feb 12 and 28 this year.

A joint statement by the Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs ministries said Singapore received information in January this year that a Singapore-registered company had been implicated in the shipment of arms and related material bound for North Korea from Cuba that was interdicted by Panama in July 2013.

An immediate investigation was launched into the case.

"Singapore takes a serious view of our international obligations to prevent the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), their means of delivery and related materials. As a responsible member of the international community, Singapore has given full effect in our domestic legislation to the measures prescribed by United Nations Security Council resolutions and will take action against any individuals and/or companies that flout these," the statement added.

If convicted under the United Nations (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) Regulations, the company could be fined up to $1 million. The maximum penalty for the second charge is a $100,000 fine. If convicted, Tan could be jailed for up to one month and/or fined up to $1,500.

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