KATHMANDU: Foreign car manufacturers have refused to sell vehicles to the North Korean Embassy in Kathmandu on suspicion that the embassy was involved in operating cyber espionage from Nepal to overcome the strict sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.
The Embassy has failed to procure a new vehicle for its envoy after the manufacturers declined to trade vehicles. Following a decision by the car manufacturers, the procurement process to purchase a new car for Ambassador Jo Yong Men has seen a dead end. German car manufacturer Volkswagen has refused to sell the car meant for Ambassador at the eleventh hour.
The procurement process for the new car started after frequent breakdown of the Mercedes-Benz SL 350 model bearing registration number 29 CD 1 being used by the Ambassador.
Volkswagen had started the selling process but declined following discussions with the Nepal-based German Embassy and European Union.
Diplomats at the North Korean Embassy were busy to purchase a car throughout the day on Thursday after other car manufacturers denied to sell a vehicle.
The process to purchase a vehicle has seen a dead end after Japanese, Italian, French, South Korean and American and car manufacturers of American allies countries refused to sell.
They declined to sell a vehicle as they feared of facing action for breaching the sanction enforced by the UN Security Council.
Earlier, Khabarhub had reported that North Korean hackers have been operating cyber espionage from Kathmandu under the Embassy’s cover.
Security beefed at N Korean Embassy
Security at the North Korean Embassy in Bakhuldole has been beefed up after the hacking tools were shifted to the Embassy from the Tokha-based Harmony Housing.
After Khabarhub carried out the news, North Korean hackers shifted their tools to the Embassy in early Thursday morning.
Since Wednesday, a special bureau of Nepal Police and some employees of the National Investigation Bureau have been carrying out surveillance at the apartment. The team, however, didn’t stop hackers from taking the equipment. It indicates that high-level government officials are favoring the hackers.
According to sources, the North Korean Embassy will be hosting a dinner party for its close ones at the Durbar Marg-based Pyongyang Arirang Restaurant on Friday. Prominent leaders and lawmakers of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) have been invited to the dinner party organized to mark the birth anniversary of North Korean founding leader Kim Il-sung.
Implementing sanctions mandatory: UN official
A United Nations official in Nepal, who refused to be named in a conversation with Khabarhub, confirmed that decision by some foreign car manufacturers of not selling vehicles to the North Korean Embassy.
“The North Korean Embassy in Nepal can’t be given immunity as the sanctions are in place for the whole North Korean government. They need to seek approval from UN’s sanction committee if they need to purchase a new car. It is unlikely that the sanction committee will approve the request,” said the official.
The official said that the government’s view will be sought on the cyber espionage operated by North Korean hackers from Nepal, adding that office is waiting for the government to stop all illegal activities of North Koreans in Nepal.