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Singapore

Two companies charged with exporting Pokka drinks, alcohol to North Korea

Two companies charged with exporting Pokka drinks, alcohol to North Korea

File photo of Pokka bottled drinks. (Photo: Facebook/POKKA)

SINGAPORE: Two beverage companies were on Wednesday (May 25) charged with exporting Pokka drinks and alcohol to North Korea.

The first company, 123 Duty Free, faces five charges under the Regulation of Imports and Exports Regulations.

It allegedly supplied more than S$341,000 worth of Pokka drinks, including milk coffee, melon milk and strawberry milk, to North Korea from April to August 2018.

Singapore imposed a complete prohibition on commercial trade with North Korea in November 2017.

TODAY previously reported in August 2019 that the Government was investigating the alleged export of Pokka products to North Korea.

In a statement on Aug 5, 2019, Pokka International's then group CEO Rieko Shofu said that media reports about the alleged exports contained "many false and unsubstantiated claims".

"Pokka is committed to ensuring that it complies with all national laws and UN sanctions, including ensuring that it has no dealings with North Korea," said Ms Shofu then.

"We enforce a firm policy not to trade with distributors that export to North Korea directly or indirectly and have robust internal policies in place that would prevent the execution of a trade with a distributor in North Korea."

She also said the company was not aware of any distributor exporting Pokka products to North Korea.

The second company, 123 Holdings, faces five counts under the United Nations Act for allegedly supplying wines and spirits worth more than S$720,000 to North Korea "via China" between November 2016 and July 2017, according to charge sheets.

On Friday, a spokesperson for Pokka told CNA that the company "has never had a known relationship" with 123 Duty Free.

"However, between April 2018 and August 2018 Pokka supplied certain products to 123 Holdings Pte Ltd," the spokesperson said.

"This was done with the clear expectation that these products would be distributed in compliance with the law."

The spokesperson said Pokka has not been charged with any offences relating to exports of its products to North Korea.

"Pokka has a strict management policy not to trade with distributors that export to North Korea directly or indirectly. Furthermore, Pokka would immediately suspend business with customers, in and outside Singapore, that are suspected of trading in North Korea," the spokesperson added.

If convicted, 123 Duty Free could be fined up to S$100,000 or three times the value of the goods, whichever is higher, for a first offence.

For repeat offences, the fine is raised to up to S$200,000 or four times the value of the goods, whichever is higher.

If convicted of supplying designated luxury items to a person in North Korea, 123 Holdings could be fined up to S$1 million.

Source: CNA/dv(aj/mi)

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