Sans work permit, North Korean doctors work illegally in Nepal

Unlicensed practice of medicine can even land the practitioner and the job provider in jail, according to the law.

Ramesh Bharati

April 24, 2019

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sans work permit, North Korean doctors work illegally in Nepal
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In yet another episode of North Korean’s illegal maneuver in Nepal, several North Korean doctors have been found to be practicing medicine illegitimately in Nepal’s medical facilities.

A total of 10 North Koreans, who have entered Nepal on business visas, have been providing health services to people at Ne-Koryo Hospital Pvt Ltd at Damauli in Tanahun sans government’s authorization and work permit. While eight of them are doctors, two work as administrators at the hospital. Only four doctors – Lm Kum Sil, Kang Ryhon, Kim Jong and Ri You Hui have obtained the work permit.

However, none of the North Koreans working at Ne-Koryo Hospital Pvt Ltd are yet to be registered themselves at the NMC.

Director General at the Labor Department, Lal Mani Ojha said it is illegal to work for a foreigner without labor permit in Nepal. Ojha informed that only four North Koreans have obtained work permit here.

The Nepal Medical Council (NMC) said the North Korean doctors have not obtained the license for practicing medicine in Nepal, which is obligatory. However, none of the North Koreans working at Ne-Koryo Hospital Pvt Ltd are yet to be registered themselves at the NMC. Other North Koreans, who have come to Nepal on dependent visas, have also been working at the hospital flouting the government’s rule.

Meanwhile, administrative officer at the Nepal Medical Council (NMC), Anita Lama said, “Some North Korean doctors have been practicing here by obtaining license from the NMC. However, we are not aware whether they have obtaining the work permit from the concerned authority.”

A police official, who insisted anonymity, said dozens of North Koreans arriving on a tourist visa are working illegally in Nepal.

A North Korean doctor was dragged into dispute after a woman died while undergoing uterus operation at the Ne-Koryo Hospital Pvt Ltd in 2015. An investigation showed that the doctor’s negligence resulted in the death of the woman. However, the case was settled after an understanding between the hospital and the patient’s kin.

Meanwhile, the hospital administration has been producing fake documents at the tax-payers service office claiming that the hospital has been in a financial loss.

A police official, who insisted anonymity, said dozens of North Koreans arriving on a tourist visa are working illegally in Nepal.

According to him, several North Korean have been operating their intelligence service through restaurants and other businesses, and even send remittance back to their country. North Korea has been facing the UN Security Council’s blockade for its nuclear weapons program. The UN has also banned its workers and their businesses in other countries.

The mysterious death of a North Korean doctor

Some North Korean doctors were found to be practicing at the Safer Hospital in Mahendranagar, managed by a Nepali citizen Dharma Chand. However, they have left the hospital recently.

According to the record at the Labor Department, the Safer Hospital had offered the job to North Koreans by acquiring a work permit in the name of South Koreans. Only one North Korean doctor was registered at the NMC.

Police Spokesperson SSP Uttam Raj Subedi says, “No foreigner coming in a visit visa can work in Nepal. However, since this is an issue that comes under the jurisdiction of the Immigration Department. Our duty is to arrest anyone breaching the immigration law and handover him/her to the immigration department.”

Director General at the Immigration Department, Ishwar Raj Poudel said a foreigner cannot work in Nepal without a work permit.

The Safer Hospital had been promoting the hospital mentioning that their services were based on Korean technology without spelling out whether it was Northern or Southern technology.

Later, a North Korean doctor, Kim Sung, working at the Safer Hospital died mysteriously in February 2018. The hospital performed his last rites in Kanchanpur without the knowledge of the administration saying that the doctor died of cardiac arrest. His wife, Jung Sung, who was working at the same hospital, was sent back to North Korea by the North Korean Embassy in Kathmandu.

Director General at the Immigration Department, Ishwar Raj Poudel said a foreigner cannot work in Nepal without a work permit. “The Labor Department issues a work permit,” he said.

Police investigation showed Chand’s involvement in various suspicious activities, such as recruiting North Korean doctors in his hospital, the mysterious death of North Korean doctor Kim Sung, and his involvement in the Information Technology sector. Moreover, performing of the final rites of Kim without the knowledge of the Nepali authorities in Nepal added more suspicion about his activities, a police source told Khabarhub.

The source said despite his separation with his North Korean business partners following some disputes, police have continued to keep an eye on his activities.

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