Former judge suspected of shipping coal from North Korea to Vietnam

Taipei-A former Taiwan judge and his son are suspected by prosecutors of shipping coal from North Korea to sell in Vietnam, in violation of sanctions imposed by the United Nations against Pyongyang, according to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office.

The prosecutors office said in a statement on Monday that Chiang Kuo-hua (???), a former High Court judge, and his son chartered a cargo ship through a Chinese middleman to transport four tons of anthracite coal from a port in North Korea to Vietnam sometime between August and September 2017.

In addition to Chiang and his son, Chiang Heng (??), two others are also implicated in the case, the prosecutors office said. The four men have been named defendants in the case accused of assisting terrorists and forging documents.

More than 70 prosecutors and police officers raided the headquarters of a company founded by Chiang and the residences of the four defendants on Sunday, while they and four witnesses were questioned.

The investigation, led by Chief Prosecutor Hsiao Fang-chou (???) and prosecutors Pai Sheng-wen (???) and Chen Chien-hung (???), found Chiang and the three others fabricated the origin of the coal they transported and the journey of the chartered vessel.

The prosecutors office said that during the journey the global positioning system on the cargo ship was turned off in a bid to prevent it being tracked.

According to the office, the former judge has been hospitalized after claiming to be ill and failed to meet with prosecutors for questioning as requested. Prosecutors will issue another warrant.

After questioning Chiang’s son, prosecutors believed he has been heavily involved in the case and have applied to the court for his detention to prevent him destroying evidence or colluding with other defendants.

The investigation is still ongoing and prosecutors declined to disclose more details.

As for the two other defendants, prosecutors said they have been released on bail of NT$100,000 (US$3,426) each.

Earlier this month, a Taiwanese man was accused of involvement in another case in which he allegedly chartered a Hong Kong-registered vessel to secretly sell oil to North Korea. The man denies the accusations.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel