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South Africa: North Korean diplomat expelled after arrest for illegal trade in rhino horn

By Lynsey Chutel



JOHANNESBURG _ A North Korean diplomat was expelled after he was arrested for illegal rhino horn trading, a spokesman for South Africa’s Department of International Relations said Wednesday.

The North Korean official was arrested in neighbouring Mozambique in May on charges related to rhino horn smuggling, spokesman Nelson Kgwete said. The North Korean, who was not identified, was driving a car with a South African diplomatic registration.

Officials at the North Korean Embassy informed their South African counterparts that the diplomat was sent home on Dec. 11, Kgwete said.

The North Korean Embassy in South Africa declined to comment.

“We don’t know about that. It’s none of your business,” said a man at the embassy in Pretoria, who refused to be named.

The diplomat was arrested after 4.5 kilograms (nearly 10 pounds) of rhino horn and $99,300 in cash were found in his car, a South African news website, News24, reported. Mozambican police released the man on $30,000 bail before allowing him to return to South Africa, News24 said.

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