Malaysian officials run into N. Korean's diplomatic immunity

    Malaysian officials run into N. Korean's diplomatic immunity

    Feb.27, Tokyo: Malaysian police investigating the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half brother believe they know somebody who might help them solve one of the most bizarre murder mysteries they have ever faced. They know his name, his nationality and have a pretty good idea where he's holed up.

    The problem is he's a North Korean diplomat.

    It's unusual for any country to simply hand over a diplomat, no matter the alleged crime. Two years ago, for example, a Saudi Arabian diplomat accused of repeatedly raping and abusing two Nepalese maids left India under cover of diplomatic immunity.

    But for North Korea, in particular, the line between immunity and impunity can seem to be a pretty fine one.

    Take the 2015 case of the first secretary of North Korea's embassy in Bangladesh, who was found to be carrying a diplomatic bag full of 170 undeclared gold bars worth an estimated $1.4 million. He was arrested but later released, with no charges filed, and left the country. The following year, another official at the same embassy was asked to leave the country after an attempt to smuggle a shipping container full of 1 million cigarettes and electronics worth another $1 million.

    Last year, a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime said a South Africa-based North Korean diplomat may have been involved in smuggling rhino horn but managed to evade charges because of his legal immunity.

    The Oslo Times International News Network


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