North Korean spy ran hotels, casinos and travel agency in Cambodia: UN report

Expert says Cambodia has been a ‘gold mine’ for North Korean operatives looking to set up shop.

A North Korean spy in Cambodia ran hotels, casinos, travel agencies, restaurants and bars as late as mid-2020, an upcoming U.N. report states, exposing what one expert calls part of a decadeslong pattern of Cambodia abetting Pyongyang’s intelligence operations and illegal economic activities.

The operative, whose real name was Kim Chol Sok, ran the businesses under the alias “Sok Kha” at the behest of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), North Korea’s top spy agency. According to the draft of the U.N. Panel of Experts report, one of the businesses Kim ran was C.H. World Travel Co. Ltd., a Phnom Penh-based travel agency that has specialized in tours in East and Southeast Asia.

Cambodian authorities told U.N. sanctions monitors that they shut down C.H. World Travel and its bank accounts, but corporate records reviewed by NK News show the company is still legally registered. The company’s Facebook page boasting more than 200,000 followers last uploaded a post just two weeks ago, although its official website is no longer accessible.

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