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Diplomat and wife jailed for smuggling cigarettes

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15:36 CET+01:00
A North Korean diplomat and his wife have been sentenced to eight months in prison by a court in Stockholm for attempting to smuggle more than 230,000 cigarettes into Sweden.

The man and the woman arrived in Sweden from Finland by ferry on November 18th.

When customs officials inspected their Russia-registered car they discovered the massive stash of cigarettes hidden under blankets and sheets in the back seat and trunk of the car.

At the time of the seizure the man, who is stationed at the North Korean trade mission in St. Petersburg, Russia, claimed that both he and his wife had diplomatic immunity and therefore couldn't be held accountable for the alleged smuggling.

But the Stockholm District Court ruled that since neither of the two were accredited in Sweden, the Vienna conventions governing diplomatic relations didn't apply.

Instead, according to the court, the incident is a simple case of two people who were caught in the act of smuggling large quantities of cigarettes into the country.

During the trial, the North Korean diplomat claimed that the cigarettes were going to be sent to his home country “for the purpose of supporting public projects”.

But at the time of the seizure, the couple told customs officials that the cigarettes were going to be sold in Sweden to finance a medical operation for his wife.

The court refused to buy either excuse, however, calling them both remarkable and blatant fabrications developed after the fact.

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