N. Korea Diplomat Busted at Airport With $1.4M—in Gold

Son Young Nam may have been smuggling gold for sale in Bangladesh
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2015 9:07 AM CDT
Updated Mar 8, 2015 9:36 AM CDT
In this 2011 file photo a person touches gold bars in the gold store of the Cantonal Bank of Zurich ZKB in Zurich, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Martin Ruetschi)

(Newser) – You and I can't get away with a 5-ounce bottle of shampoo at the airport, but a North Korean diplomat apparently thought the 27 kilograms of gold in his carry-on—worth about $1.4 million—was no big deal. Bangladesh would beg to differ, reports the Wall Street Journal. "We recovered the gold both in the form of bar and ornaments from Son Young Nam, the First Secretary of the North Korean Embassy in Dhaka," said a top official, per Reuters. Son was detained and released, but Bangladesh seized his treasure and is looking to press criminal charges in addition to the customs complaint already filed. Both Reuters and the Journal note that Bangladesh has lately become a hub for illegal gold smuggling; the Journal adds that Pyongyang has long leaned heavily on the sales of gold to support the posh lifestyle of its leadership.

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