Kaohsiung prosecutors have questioned Taiwanese shipping merchant Chuang Chin-hung (莊錦宏), 56, about alleged sales of fuel to North Korean vessels, the second such case recently uncovered.
Chuang is suspected of loading 7,000 tonnes of diesel onto the Jin Hye (金穗輪) oil tanker in December last year.
The tanker traveled from the Port of Taichung to an undisclosed location in the East China Sea to sell the cargo, Kaohsiung prosecutor Lin Chih-yu (林志祐) said yesterday.
Lin said Chuang is suspected of selling and transferring diesel to North Korean ships as his departure records show that his company’s tankers made several trips in November and December last year.
Prosecutors and law enforcement agencies on Tuesday raided Chuang’s company and his residence.
Chuang and several others have been summoned for questioning. Chuang was yesterday released on posting NT$2 million (US$68,477) bail.
Chuang owns a shipping company in Kaohsiung, along with a trading company registered in the Marshall Islands.
He owns the Jin Hye, an oil tanker built in 1986, which has reportedly changed hands five times and sails under the Sierra Leonean flag.
Investigators said that Chuang is suspected of forging an export declaration by listing the diesel delivery as headed for Hong Kong, but instead sent the tanker to the East China Sea to transfer to North Korean ships.
Prosecutors said they are examining other shipping records and documents related to the company.
Chuang is suspected of sending his ships into international waters to conduct the illegal transfers many times last year, contravening a UN sanction against North Korea.
Chuang was quoted as saying in questioning that a Hong Kong businessman rented the tanker last year and he did not know the shipping activities made by the Jin Hye and other ships in his fleet during that time.
Taiwan businessman Chen Shih-hsien (陳世憲), who chartered a tanker through the Billions Bunker Group, is also being investigated for suspected trading with a North Korean vessel in October last year.
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