Dutch seize 90,000 bottles of vodka they say were heading for North Korea

Part of the haul: Photo: Dutch customs
Part of the haul: Photo: Dutch customs

Some 90,000 bottles of vodka found in a container on a Chinese freight ship were destined for North Korean leader Kim Jung-un and his army chiefs, the AD said on Tuesday.

The find was made last Thursday and on Friday the Dutch foreign affairs ministry gave officials the green light to seize the shipment, which came from Russia.

The official shipping documents said China was the final destination and the container was on a ship belonging to the Chinese cargo company Cosco Shipping.

However, customs official Arno Kooij told the paper that the shipment had been flagged as suspect in Hamburg.

‘We do not want to release more information than necessary about our control strategy,’ he said. ‘But what I can tell you is that, based on the information available, we suspected that this particular container was subject to the sanctions regime for North Korea.’

Foreign trade minister Sigrid Kaag told the paper that it is important to enforce UN sanctions against North Korea. ‘The sanctions also govern the import of luxury goods and so customs was completely justified in eventually unloading that container,’ she is quoted as saying.

The AD says an investigation is now under way to find out if the vodka was indeed heading for North Korea.

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