North Koreans pay no heed to Nepal’s direction to withdraw investment

Ishwar Dev Khanal

October 25, 2019


North Koreans pay no heed to Nepal’s direction to withdraw investment
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KATHMANDU: North Korean investors in Nepal have paid no heed to the government’s direction to shut down their businesses and take back investments. Although the Department of Industry has written thrice to the North Korean investors, they have been dillydallying to pull back investment from Nepal.

North Koreans are still operating Botonggang Restaurant and Bar P. Ltd located on the top floor of Rising Mall in Kathmandu.

According to sources at the department, 14 North Koreans are still working illegally at the restaurant. The source added that some 17 North Koreans were employed at the restaurant a few days back. Three of them have already left Nepal as their visa was not renewed.

The department, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ordered them to close or sell their business firms by the end of October and leave Nepal.

Director at the Department Prem Prasad Luitel said that North Koreans have been told to pull their investments from Nepal due to sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

According to Luitel, the department had directed the North Korean to that end for the first time on July 31. A second diktat was sent on September 10 and the third and final one on October 17.

With only a week’s deadline left for the North Koreans to take back their investments shuttering their businesses, Botonggang Restaurant and Bar is still operational. Director Luitel said that North Koreans have to follow the direction at any cost.

Nepal Police have kept a close eye on the activities of North Koreans in Nepal. According to the sources, the law enforcement agency will take necessary action after the deadline expires.

Hospitals and IT companies closed

Khabarhub had carried out a series of stories on how North Koreans were misusing Nepal’s soil to make money. The North Koreans were operating restaurants, hospitals, and software companies in Nepal before Khabarhub exposed their illegal activities.

The government agencies had shown their concerns after Khabarhub had exposed North Korean activities in Nepal. North Korean hackers had escaped from their hideout before the government agencies took any action. With the law enforcement agency keeping a close tab on them, North Koreans left Nepal by closing three IT companies.

Likewise, Ne-Koryo Hospital established by North Korea at Damauli in Tanahun district shut down after Khabarhub had published news that North Koreans doctors were working there sans work permit.

The hospital went packed up after the Nepal Medical Council (NMC) did not renew its license after having found that the doctors had been working there at the hospital without work-permit.

Although the North Korean Embassy in Nepal had lobbied for the doctors working at the hospital, NMC directed the hospital to close down its service after it found that the doctors were found working without a work permit in a sensitive health-related field like a hospital. According to sources, three North Korean doctors who worked at the hospital are still in Nepal.

On the other hand, some North Korean doctors practicing at the Safer Hospital in Kailali have already left Nepal.

North Korean had been operating nine businesses including five restaurants in Nepal. Apart from restaurants, North Koreans had invested in hospitals and IT companies in Nepal. All the restaurants except that located at Rising Mall in Kathmandu have already closed.

It should be noted that the UN repeatedly reminded Nepal to rein in North Korean activities in the Nepali soil, which has increased in recent times.

North Korean prepping to run businesses again

Sources said that North Koreans are hatching a ploy to run businesses in Nepal again adding that they are planning to leave Nepal at the end of the deadline and start businesses again after returning in November.

However, it is said that Prime Minister KP Oli is strictly against any Noth Korean investment in Nepal again.

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