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North Korea: A Government-Sponsored Drug Trafficking Network

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On April 16 2003, after aerial surveillance was conducted on a suspicious Tuvaki registered, North Korean owned freighter, the Pong Su, close to the shore, Australian police followed two Chinese suspects on the shore as they left the beach and headed for a near-by hotel. The following morning the two suspects were apprehended at their hotel and 50 kilograms of pure heroin were seized. A little later Australian police made the gruesome discovery of a North Korean body buried close to a dingy on the beach where the two Chinese suspects had been seen the day before. The victim was believed to have drowned after the dingy had capsized while bringing the drugs ashore. On April 17 the freighter headed east through Bass Straight then turned north and headed up the Australian coast. Following the arrests civil police intercepted the ship but they were unable to board due to heavy seas. The Navy had to be summoned. After some hasty repair work, the HMAS Stuart set out to capture the Pong Su. In the Tasman Sea on April 19 after the Stuart clearly identified the Pong Su on their radar, they shadowed out of sight, disappearing beyond the horizon as the Pong Su headed north. Finally, in the early morning hours of April 20, the Stuart radioed the unsuspecting Pong Su ordering them to prepare to be boarded. Special Air Service troops descended upon the ship from a helicopter, and also boarded the ship using RHIBs, capturing all 30 crew members and continuing then to the galley. Thus ended a 72-hour ordeal, proving to the world what had long been suspected, that North Korea is involved in producing and trafficking effort.

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  • Sociology and Law

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