A North Korean diplomat stationed in Islamabad was robbed of alcohol worth $150,000 (£114,629), including Scotch whisky, French wine and beer, raising suspicion that the consular staff or the embassy could be involved in bootlegging liquor in Pakistan to send money to the cash-strapped Kim Jong-un regime.
Three burglars broke in Hyon Ki Yong's residence in October and stole thousands of bottles of liquor from the diplomat, following which Pakistani authorities kick-started an investigation into the matter.
Although alcohol is banned for Muslims in Pakistan, foreign diplomats are allowed to carry it as their personal allowance. Suspicions have risen that North Korean diplomats are abusing their immunity status to sell their quota of alcohol in the black market as liquor is hard to come by in the Islamic nation.
Since the incident, the three robbers, who were reported to be police officers, have been arrested by law enforcement agencies. There are also conflicting reports that suggest the entire episode was a police operation and not a burglary. Yet, the incident has raised questions about North Korean attachés reportedly involved in illegal alcohol trade.
Pakistani officials suspect the Pyongyang's embassy employees either wanted to make money for themselves or wanted to send the funds to the reclusive North Korean regime.
"This North Korean was involved in liquor selling," an official from an investigation agency told Reuters on condition of anonymity as Pakistani authorities are reluctant to speak about any development.
This is not the first time such incident has come to light as similar reports of North Korea diplomats selling illegal liquor surfaced in 2013 as well. At that time, Pakistani officials found North Korean diplomats importing expensive alcohol from outside and then selling them at exorbitant prices in Pakistan.
North Korea is currently under intensive economic sanctions because of its nuclear and missile programmes, which are in violation of UN regulations. This has forced the North Korean regime to hunt for other sources of revenue.