A couple from North Korea was arrested on the side of a road in Karachi, Pakistan on charges of illegally selling alcohol inside the Defence Housing Authority on April 1. They were released soon afterward, however, because they were discovered to be diplomatic envoys to Pakistan from North Korea.
Details on the arrest
UPI reports that the couple, identified only by their surname of Chong, was accused of using their positions and resulting immunity to sell beer and whisky inside the Defence Housing Authority. In Pakistan, it is illegal to sell alcohol in public areas.
The North Korean diplomat and his wife were also accused of taking advantage of their privileges as foreign envoys to buy whiskey of high quality from duty-free stores and then selling it to turn a hefty profit, according to Voice of America.
Profits for the North Korean embassy
The media outlet also reported that an expensive bottle of whiskey like a bottle of the high-end Chivas Regal, could be bought for $40 and then sell for between $70 and $100. The couple also could reportedly pay $30 for a pack of beer and then sell it at the housing authority for as much as $150.
Sources in Pakistan reportedly told the media that the illegal alcohol sales were actually providing financial support for North Korea’s embassy to operate in Pakistan. In addition, Donga Ilbo, a newspaper in South Korea, also said the couple was selling the alcohol in order to send foreign money to Pyongyang.
Other North Korean diplomats arrested
This isn’t the first time North Korean diplomats were arrested in Pakistan. Two years ago, other envoys from North Korea were also arrested on charges of illegally selling alcohol. In that cause, they were allegedly selling it to employees of international schools and restaurants in Pakistan. They also allegedly delivered the alcohol using official vehicles owned by the North Korean embassy.
Also last month, a diplomat from North Korea was accused of trying to smuggle $1.7 million in gold into Bangladesh.