N. Korean diplomat expelled over rhino horns

JOHANNESBURG: A North Korean diplomat has been expelled from South Africa for alleged illegal trading in rhino horns, a South African foreign ministry spokesman said.

“We can confirm that this diplomat has been expelled. He left the country on the 11th of December,” Nelson Kgwete said yesterday.

Kgwete said the diplomat was arrested in neighbouring Mozam­bique in May on charges related to rhino horn smuggling.

At the time of arrest, he was driving a vehicle with a South African diplomatic registration.

South Africa’s News24 said the diplomat was arrested after 4.5kg of rhino horn and US$99,300 (RM425,000) in cash were found in his car. The news website added that Mozambican police released the man on US$30,000 (RM128,000) bail.

South Africa’s rhino poaching epidemic saw a record 1,215 rhino killed last year for their horns, which is used as a traditional medicine in some parts of Asia. — AFP

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