The legal battle over the extradition of Mun Chol-Myong to the United States continues, as Malaysian courts postpone judgment until the end of October. Mun is a 54-year-old citizen of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea who has lived in Malaysia since 2008.
He was arrested at the behest of the United States in May and charged with four counts of money laundering, two counts of conspiracy to launder money, and violating sanctions against the DPRK.
Although Malaysia approved the US extradition request, Mun filed a legal objection. He is currently being held without bail.
The charges stem from his work with Sinsar Trading Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based company where he worked as a development officer.
Many compare his situation with that of three people in Singapore who were arrested for violating UN sanctions by sending perfume, wine, and watches to the DPRK. Unlike Mun, however, the US did not seek their extradition.
Jagjit Singh, Mun’s lawyer, denied the accusations and said recently that the US was using his client for political purposes in order to gain leverage over the DPRK. The case shows that the extent of the US’s bullying knows virtually no limits, and that there is no escaping the reach of the US government.
Further, it demonstrates the backward priorities of the US government.
This is clear when we contrast their approach to Mun with their approach to the billionaire Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma. Beginning in 1995 the Sacklers manufactured, promoted, and sold the deadly opiod, OxyContin.
Through aggressive marketing, bribery, and misinformation, the Sacklers are larely responsible for initiating the deadly opioid crisis in the US, which has taken tens of thousands of lives. Yet the Sacklers all remain free and remain billionaires.
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Dr. Derek Ford is Associate Professor, DePauw University.