Ahead of UN resolution deadline, Nepal will deport 12 North KoreansThe government raided a restaurant this week, as part of its efforts to repatriate all North Koreans currently living and working in the country.
A government team raided the North Korean Botonggang Restaurant in Kathmandu on Wednesday in an attempt to abide by UN resolution 2397, which requires member states to prohibit North Koreans from engaging in businesses in foreign countries. Twelve North Korean citizens were found to be working illegally at the Durbar Marg-based restaurant.
The North Koreans were asked to sign statements attesting to their illegal status in Nepal and let go upon the condition that they present themselves the next day at the Department of Immigration, according to officials involved in the raid. On Thursday, North Korean Ambassador to Nepal Kim Yong Hak arrived at the department with the North Korean nationals, who were told by Director-General Eshor Raj Poudel to arrange air tickets and leave the country by December 12, officials told the Post.
“We took action against restaurants where we found North Korean citizens living and working in Nepal without any valid visas,” said Poudel. “Their visas expired on October 31 as per official records.”
The raid team consisted of Ganesh Adhikari, chief of the National Intelligence Department, and senior officials from the departments of Immigration and Industry.
According to UN resolution 2397, adopted on December 22, 2017, members states are required to “repatriate all DRPK nationals earning income and all DPRK government safety oversight attachés monitoring DPRK workers abroad within their jurisdiction within 24 months from 22 December 2017.” After December 22, 2019, any country not abiding by the sanctions will themselves face penalties.
According to government officials, the 12 individuals are among the last North Korean nationals living in the country. Authorities are still searching for the whereabouts of three other North Koreans suspected to be in the country as per government data.
The raid came in the wake of concerns expressed by the United States regarding North Korean nationals living and doing business in Nepal. US-led western allies, in the first week of November, had also registered a demarche at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking that Nepal abide by UN resolutions as soon as possible.
Out of the 12 North Koreans, six will be leaving Nepal on November 24, according to an official at the Immigration Department. The remaining six will leave the country after managing the air tickets.
On November 7, Nepal’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations communicated to the UN Security Council that 33 nationals from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had already left the territory of Nepal on October 31.
“The visa issued to nationals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea living in Nepal was valid until October 31. Accordingly, those still living in Nepal illegally would be subject to prosecution under the country’s immigration laws,” read the statement by Nepal’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York at UN Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718.
The Nepali mission in New York also communicated to the UN Security council that Nepal’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies had notified all business entities in which nationals from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had invested to begin processes to shut down the business.
“Lastly, the investors in and the authorised representatives of the business entities in which nationals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had invested were notified with a view to ensuring that all the business transactions pertaining to their industries ceased before October 31, 2019,” Nepal’s Permanent Representative stated.