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Cambodia is a "hotspot" for North Korean illegality, where passports "sell like candy" according to an expert, as the country faces claims that it's in league with the communist state.
The news comes as it was revealed a North Korean spy ran a variety of business in the South East Asian country, according to a forthcoming U.N. Panel of Experts report.
"They sell [Cambodian passports] like candy to the highest bidder and the North Koreans pay," said investigative journalist Nate Thayer.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has refuted the “unfounded report” by a well-known North Korean monitoring website called North Korea News.
It accused Cambodia of “abetting Pyongyang’s intelligence operations and illegal economic activities”.
They quoted an expert who said Cambodia has been a "gold mine" for North Korean operatives looking to set up shop. The spy, called Kim Sol Chok, allegedly ran businesses under a false name until mid 2020.
“Cambodia has complied with all UN Security Council [UNSC] resolutions, shut down all businesses and bank accounts of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [DPRK] in the country and halted granting work authorisation for workers from DPRK,” the ministry bit back.
They added: “Cambodia has always adhered to its firm stance of supporting non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction towards the complete elimination of these weapons.
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"As a responsible member of the United Nations, Cambodia has completely fulfilled its international obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and has faithfully implemented the resolutions of the UNSC on sanctions on the DPRK."
The Atlantic reported in 2017 that the two countries have a "special relationship", with the capital city of Cambodia home to a boulevard named after former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung.
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Both capital city Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, home to many of Cambodia’s ancient temples, feature “Pyongyang” restaurants, which are believed to funnel money back to the regime, the title added.
Cambodia said this week that seven bank accounts in two different financial institutions have been closed since 2017. Cambodia has shut down all DPRK's businesses, including restaurants and museums, operating in Cambodia.
- North Korea Dprk
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