Glocom is a front company run by North Korean intelligence agents that sells battlefield radio equipment in violation of United Nations sanctions, according to a United Nations report drafted for the Security Council seen by Reuters.
Reuters found that Glocom advertises over 30 radio systems for “military and paramilitary” organizations on its Malaysian website, glocom.com.my.
Glocom’s website, which was taken down late last year, listed the Little India address in its contacts section. No one answers the door there and the mailbox outside is stuffed with unopened letters.
In fact, no company by that name exists in Malaysia. But two Malaysian companies controlled by North Korean shareholders and directors registered Glocom’s website in 2009, according to website and company registration documents.
And it does have a business, the draft U.N. report says. Last July, an air shipment of North Korean military communications equipment, sent from China and bound for Eritrea, was intercepted in an unnamed country. The seized equipment included 45 boxes of battlefield radios and accessories labeled “Glocom”, short for Global Communications Co.
Glocom is controlled by the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the North Korean intelligence agency tasked with overseas operations and weapons procurement, the report says, citing undisclosed information it obtained.
A spokesman for North Korea’s mission at the U.N. told Reuters he had no information about Glocom.
U.N. resolution 1874, adopted in 2009, expanded the arms embargo against North Korea to include military equipment and all “related materiel”.
But implementation of the sanctions “remains insufficient and highly inconsistent” among member countries, the U.N. report says, and North Korea is using “evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication.”
Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world which had strong ties with North Korea. Their citizens can travel to each other’s countries without visas. But those ties have begun to sour after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother was murdered at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport on Feb 13.
According to the “WHOIS” database, which discloses website ownership, Glocom.com.my was registered in 2009 by an entity called International Global System using the “Little India” address. A similarly named company, International Golden Services is listed as the contact point on Glocom’s website.
Glocom is operated by the Pyongyang branch of a Singapore-based company called Pan Systems, the draft U.N. report says, citing an invoice and other information it obtained.
Louis Low, managing director of Pan Systems in Singapore said his company used to have an office in Pyongyang from 1996 but officially ended relations with North Korea in 2010 and was no longer in control of any business there.
“They use (the) Pan Systems (name) and say it’s a foreign company, but they operate everything by themselves,” Low told Reuters referring to the North Koreans at the Pyongyang office.
Pan Systems Pyongyang utilized bank accounts, front companies and agents mostly based in China and Malaysia to buy components and sell completed radio systems, the U.N. report says. Pan Systems Pyongyang could not be reached for comment.
One of the directors of Pan Systems Pyongyang is Ryang Su Nyo. According to a source with direct knowledge of her background, Ryang reports to “Liaison Office 519”, a department in the Reconnaissance General Bureau. Ryang is also listed as a shareholder of International Global System, the company that registered Glocom’s website. (Courtesy Reuters)