Judge Juche: The Curious Case of the Wise Honest Seizure

May 14, 2019
Cameron Trainer

Also read part 2 of this series:
Judge Juche 2: North Korean Misadventures in Uganda

The following is an excerpt published by NK News.

Judge Juche is back, this time with a look at the Wise Honest. Though initially detained by Indonesia in April 2018, this North Korean vessel was more recently subject to a civil asset forfeiture complaint filed by the United States Department of Justice in the Southern District of New York.


North Korean vessels have, of course, been seized before. The Chong Chon Gang was seized by Panama in 2013, while the Mu Du Bong was detained (and ultimately scrapped) by Mexico after running aground off the Mexican coast in 2014.

The use of civil asset forfeiture complaints for sanctions enforcement is also nothing new. The U.S. has filed forfeiture complaints in response to alleged violations of sanctions by Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co Ltd (2016), Dandong Chengtai Trading Limited (2017), Velmur Management Pte Ltd & Transatlantic Partners Pte Ltd (2017), and Apex Choice Ltd & Yuanye Wood Ltd (2018).

But each of those forfeiture complaints targeted the funds of organizations, not physical assets. This is the first time a North Korean vessel has been seized by the United States, and through civil asset forfeiture no less! That’s notable, especially considering it might provide a template for future action.

Continue reading this article at NK News

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