Pakistani media have reported on the local North Korean embassy’s alleged involvement in smuggling and illegal exchange of foreign currency.
The Karachi-based Daily Sharafat Karachi said local intelligence authorities reported to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry that some of North Korean’s embassies and legations abroad were involved in smuggling and illegal foreign exchange transactions.
The intelligence report claimed Pyongyang’s embassy and its economy and trade mission conspired with local smugglers to illegally import liquor and other items from various locations including Dubai.
It said containers disguised as diplomatic pouches for the contraband items and that local customs agents were also involved.
The Pakistani foreign minister has called on the Karachi customs and the intelligence agency for a thorough investigation into the matter.
North Korea’s embassies self-finance their operations on revenues earned in their host countries. They receive little-to-zero operating funds from Pyongyang. This incentive structure is interesting from an economic perspective. Sometimes it generates interesting results like this. Unfortunately it also generates outcomes like this. End the end, some diplomats just do not make good businessmen.
Of course, if Pakistan has erected trade and currency laws that make life difficult for honest business persons, which would not surprise me since it ranks just ahead of Yemen in economic freedom, the North Koreans might actually be doing the people of Pakistan a favor by bringing some competition into the market.