A North Korean Spy Agency That Sold Military Gear Had An Office Right Here In KL

News of their existence broke following a report by Reuters on Monday, 27 February.

Cover image via Zulfadhli Zulkifli/NST Online

Following Kim Jong-nam's assassination, Malaysia is under the limelight for yet another reason linked to North Korea.

This time it's about two North Korean companies that have been trading military equipment in Kuala Lumpur.

Image via Reuters

A Reuters report on Monday, 27 February, revealed that two North Korean companies located in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, have allegedly been selling military gear.

The two companies have been identified as International Global System Sdn Bhd and International Global Services Sdn Bhd, linked to 'Glocom' (Global Communications Co), a company selling battlefield radios from North Korea.

According to a report by the United Nations (UN) drafted for the Security Council sighted by Reuters, Glocom is a front company run by North Korean intelligence agents who were trading military equipment in violation of UN sanctions.

The UN report added that Glocom was controlled by North Korean intelligence agency, Reconnaissance General Bureau, that is tasked with overseas operations and weapons procurement for North Korea.

Below are some key things we've learned so far:

1. The police are aware of the existence of both companies

IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar

Image via Choo Choy May/Malay Mail Online

The Malaysian police have confirmed media reports saying that no company called 'Glocom' exists in Malaysia and that the two companies linked to it - International Global System Sdn Bhd and International Golden Services Sdn Bhd - are being "struck off".

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said that the police were constantly monitoring and taking measures to ensure Malaysia was not used for activities that would be "detrimental to national security".

"We have also taken all necessary actions to comply with international regulations with regards to related sanctions," Khalid said in a statement, as reported by Malay Mail Online.

2. The UN had questioned if Malaysia would expel the North Koreans involved in the companies

According to Reuters, the unreleased UN draft said that it asked Malaysian government if it would expel the North Koreans behind the two companies and freeze their assets, to comply with the UN sanctions.

However, it was said that Malaysia failed to respond to the request.

It is noted that the UN did not specify when the query was made.

3. An UMNO veteran has admitted that he helped to set up one of the companies but pleaded ignorance

UMNO Veterans Club national secretary Mustapha Ya’akub told Bernama that he helped to set up the International Global System Sdn Bhd business, which was registered as a multimedia, electronics and general trading firm back in 2005.

"I knew Glocom was a North Korean product but I didn’t know that the country was under United Nations (UN) sanctions."

"Our relationship was strictly business. I knew them after being introduced by the North Korean Embassy. According to the embassy, they were looking for partners to market their products in Malaysia," he told reporters.

Mustapha is under international scrutiny after Reuters named him in the report, with claims that he was connected to one of the Glocom-linked companies.

4. The alleged North Korean agency in Brickfields has been vacated

It is said that the unit, which once housed a company owned by UMNO Youth, was found to have been vacated by members of the media.

"The unmarked door to the office, located on the second floor of a building at Jalan Thambipillay, Brickfields, here, was locked and media members' repeated ringing of the door's bell went unanswered," a report by NST read.

This was consistent with the Reuters report that stated that "no one answers the door there and the mailbox outside is stuffed with unopened letters".

Do you think Malaysia should expel the North Koreans behind these two companies? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Malaysia is known for having close ties with one of the world's most reclusive countries, North Korea:

However, the relationship between the two countries seemed to have turned sour recently following the death of Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia:

You may be interested in: