Brewing controversy: Seoul protests North Korean bootlegging

Published: April 25, 2013
The issue first came to light when DHA in Karachi received several complaints from residents over ‘illegal activities’ of the North Korean consulate staff. PHOTO: FILE

The issue first came to light when DHA in Karachi received several complaints from residents over ‘illegal activities’ of the North Korean consulate staff. PHOTO: FILE


Escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula are being felt thousands of kilometres away in Pakistan, but not for obvious reasons.

The Express Tribune has learnt that South Korea is at odds with Islamabad over the alleged involvement of the North Korean mission staff posted in Pakistan for illegally selling imported liquor to the general public.

Seoul is none too pleased with the activities of North Korean diplomats and its mission in Islamabad has taken up the issue with Pakistani authorities, insisting that such activities are in violation of UN sanctions.

The issue first came to light when the Defense Housing Authority (DHA) in Karachi received several complaints from residents over ‘illegal activities’ of the North Korean consulate staff in Pakistan’s largest metropolis.

The DHA administration formed a team to observe the consulate staff to ascertain the authenticity of the complaint. After completing its investigation, the team confirmed that the consulate staff was indeed involved in selling liquor illegally.

But bizarrely, the DHA administration wrote a letter to the South Korean Embassy in Islamabad seeking action against North Korean diplomats.

This drew the ire of the South Korean Embassy, which clarified to the DHA that it had nothing to do with North Korean diplomats. Subsequently, the DHA apologised for the mistake.

The South Korean Embassy confirmed the story and said they took up the matter with Pakistan’s foreign ministry, saying it had caused embarrassment for them.

Diplomatic sources told The Express Tribune that the South Korean mission requested Pakistan to stop North Korean diplomats from selling alcohol.

Despite repeated attempts, no one was available from the North Korean Embassy to provide an official response.

When contacted, a foreign ministry spokesperson said he was not aware of the controversy and would have to check with the concerned officials.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2013.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (17)

  • GhostRider
    Apr 25, 2013 - 8:44AM

    They are waking up now when everyone has tasted the liquor in the neighborhood. This has been going on for a lonnnnnnng time now


  • Max
    Apr 25, 2013 - 10:22AM

    Well done DHA, woke up from your sleep and then sent the letter to the wrong country. Great work indeed.Recommend

  • Ali Babar Sheikh
    Apr 25, 2013 - 2:25PM

    North South, what is the difference. One word is the same


  • Sober
    Apr 25, 2013 - 4:57PM



  • MNH
    Apr 25, 2013 - 5:00PM

    I wonder if DHA staff wrote the letter after tasting that “imported liquor” and couldn’t differentiate between North and South.


  • Jane
    Apr 25, 2013 - 5:51PM

    Not fair u guys !!!


  • Aneeq
    Apr 25, 2013 - 6:01PM

    This is not good.


  • Jane
    Apr 25, 2013 - 6:12PM

    I never liked those new neighbours… very nosy !!!


  • Asad
    Apr 25, 2013 - 7:12PM

    We should be surprised that they managed to write a letter at all.


  • Saad
    Apr 25, 2013 - 7:47PM

    another propaganda against North Korea to defame itRecommend

  • Saad
    Apr 25, 2013 - 7:48PM

    another propaganda against North Korea to defame it


  • Oz
    Apr 25, 2013 - 8:45PM

    Is North Korea so broke they have to resort to selling liquor illegally in foreign countries?


  • Jane
    Apr 26, 2013 - 3:52PM

    Oh plz live and let live


  • Sonia K
    Apr 26, 2013 - 5:04PM

    What is with South Korean Embassy people??? The report is somewhat incomplete- were North Korean diplomats selling to them, forcing them to drink or just plain holding a gun to their heads- what is the exact issue between the two neighbors and why did they have to take it out in Pakistan???

    Pakistan is no play field where any two countries when they can’t get along, take out their trifles in- they can settle their issues in their own space and complain or kill over land or booze, whatever suits them. KUDOS to the DHA administration who did not give a damn!!! The issue was useless!


  • raza said
    Apr 29, 2013 - 10:34AM

    great now everyone will be drinking murree and getting diarrhea


  • khoso saeen
    May 7, 2013 - 12:33PM

    One can only imagine the mix up and the efficiency (absolute lack of) when DHA manages files of homeowners etc


  • Sobia Shaheen
    Jun 4, 2013 - 4:48PM

    Every diplomatic mission in Pakistan were involved in selling and illegal import of alcoholic beverages and other dutiable items by misusing their diplomatic privileges. all of the diplomatic bonded warehouse e.g. Sun Diplomats, General Enterprises and Diplomatic Duty Free Shops, are also involved with. every body knows eg. Foreign Office, Customs Authorities, Intelligence Agencies etc.

    The point is that the controversy is only be initiated against the North Korean Mission in Pakistan due to recent clash between North Korea and US regarding Atomic and Missile Test.


More in World