Embassies and elephants
Think tank: RUSI
Author(s): Matthew Redhead; Sasha Erskine
November 25, 2022
This report from UK think tank RUSI looks at North Korea’s involvement in aspects of the illegal wildlife trade to generate foreign currency.
The North Korean government has a long history of involvement in illicit activities to generate foreign currency, which it uses to fund the regime elite and its weapons proliferation programmes, currently subject to UN sanctions. Most research into these illicit activities has focused on volume crimes such as drug smuggling, counterfeiting and, latterly, cybercrime. In comparison, North Korea’s involvement in aspects of the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) has been recognised, but not accorded similar levels of scholarly attention. This paper reviews the evidence on the regime’s engagement in the IWT.