North Korean diplomat in Pakistan either drinks like a fish or is up to something fishy | Pakistan Today

North Korean diplomat in Pakistan either drinks like a fish or is up to something fishy

  • Police sources say First Secretary Hyon Ki Yong stored imported liquor beyond prescribed limit at private residence

  • Hyon retracts complaint against police officials he had earlier accused of stealing 450 cartons of liquor

ISLAMABAD:

An investigation into the ‘robbery’ at the residence of North Korea’s First Secretary in Islamabad, Hyon Ki Yong has revealed that the liquor stored at the diplomat’s residence was beyond the prescribed limit allowed under the Pakistani law, reinforcing the suspicion that foreign diplomats based in the federal capital are involved in liquor smuggling.

First Secretary Hyon had initially lodged a complaint of robbery with the Kohsar police station on October 3. During the investigation, police came to know that their three venal fellows and the male housekeeper of the diplomat were involved in this illegal raid/robbery. After the approval of SSP operations, Sajid Kayani, the police enlisted the names of three accused police officials of the Shalimar police station in the already-registered FIR against his male housekeeper, accusing them of making off with 450 cartons of “legally imported” liquor, 3,000 US dollars, a laptop, gold and diamond ornaments etc., from his residence on October 2 in an illegal raid.

However, just a day after registering the FIR with police, Hyon submitted an application with Kohsar Police Station In-Charge Asjad Mahmood asking him not to proceed with the investigation as he was not interested in pursuing the matter.

“It is stated that last day, I reported about house break and theft, now I don’t want to pursue the matter. Please stop all further proceedings,” Hyon stated in the application.

This application raised suspicions about the North Korean diplomat, police sources said, adding that the liquor seized from the accused police officials’ custody was more than the quantity Hyon had reported to the police.

According to a document of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the diplomatic and consular missions in Pakistan are entitled to import/purchase 15 to 60 litres of alcoholic beverages every three months.

Under the allowed limit, Hyon could import 30 litres each of whiskey, vodka, wine and champagne while the allowed limit for beer is 240 bottles. Moreover, the imported liquor is supposed to be stored in the missions, but in Hyon’s case the liquor was stored at a private residence outside the diplomatic enclave.

Talking to Pakistan Today, Inspector Asjad said that the police had recovered some 2000 bottles of liquor of various brands worth Rs 20 million from the accused. However, the investigator of the case, Assistant Sub-Inspector Ishtiaq Hussain said the police had recovered 2,103 bottles from raids conducted at various places.

“We recovered 1,132 bottles from a private house in F-10/2, 731 from alleged illegal police picket in F-11/1 while 240 bottles were recovered during a snap checking from a Swift car in sector F-11. “We have submitted all the recovered items with the police Maal Khana which would be handed over to the Korean diplomat on court orders,” he added.

Well-placed sources in the federal police and Foreign Affairs Ministry, on condition of anonymity, told Pakistan Today that the authorities were closely monitoring the matter.

According to the FIR, the diplomat claimed that the stolen liquor items included 380 cases of branded imported liquor, including 201 cases of different brands of wine and three other bottles, 60 cases of beer, 100 cases of black whiskey, and 10 cases of Royal and 9 cases of tequila.

“While the North Korean first secretary had reported that only 380 cases of liquor were stolen from his residence, we have recovered much more 440 cases of imported liquor which were actually taken from the diplomat’s residence,” a police official said.

The official added that the police were also intrigued by the fact that the diplomat had aborted the investigation immediately after he came to know that police officials were involved in this case.

“We were surprised why Hyon retracted his complaint just a day after registration of the FIR. This has reinforced our suspicion that he is involved in dubious activities,” the official said, adding that the diplomat and the accused had reached a “settlement” soon after the FIR was registered.

The accused police official, ASI Malik Asif told Pakistan Today that not only the North Korean diplomat but his colleagues at the embassy were also involved in the illicit business.

“Other than the North Koreans, Pakistani nationals Malik Qudoos and Malik Sagar are also involved in this illegal trade,” he said. He added that he had lodged an FIR against the Malik duo in 2015.

“I have registered 150 to 200 FIRs in drugs cases out of which four FIRs were against the Maliks. I have been framed in this case so that no other police official dares to take any step against this illicit liquor trade,” he alleged.

The accused ASI also refuted the charge that he had entered the residence of the North Korean diplomat. “I do not know how many liquor cases were stolen from the diplomat’s house,” he said.

It may be mentioned here that four out of five accused including three police officials and a bootlegger Malik Sagar are on pre-arrest bail in the robbery case.

Several attempts were made to contact Hyon Ki Yong but he didn’t respond.

It’s widely known that earning money is a necessity for North Korean embassies across the world as their government back home doesn’t fund them. Instead, embassies are expected to support themselves and send home any surplus.

Additional reporting by Farid Sabri

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]



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