* Chinpo Shipping faces criminal charges
* Related to illegal shipment seized in Panama
* Company director also charged (Adds details on charges, background)
By Rujun Shen
SINGAPORE, June 10 (Reuters) - Singapore said on Tuesday it has filed criminal charges against a company implicated in an illegal shipment of arms seized near the Panama Canal last year on a North Korean container ship.
Chinpo Shipping Company (Private) Ltd has been charged for transferring financial assets or resources that may reasonably be used to contribute to North Korea’s weapon programmes, which are subject to U.N. sanctions.
The charges come after a U.N. report in March which named Chinpo Shipping as helping arrange the shipment of Cuban fighter jets and missile parts that were bound for North Korea when they were seized in Panama last July.
The charge sheets said that Chinpo Shipping had transferred $72,106.76 to a Panama shipping company in March when it had reason to believe that the money might be used to contribute to North Korea’s weapons programmes.
The firm was also charged with carrying out a remittance business without a licence between 2009 and 2013.
Singaporean citizen Tan Hui Tin, a shareholder and director of the company, was also charged for intentionally helping Tan Cheng Hoe, another director of the company, to omit to produce records requested by a police officer, Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers said.
The registered office address of Chinpo Shipping was the same as the North Korean Embassy in Singapore, though on a visit to the address in March a Reuters reporter was told the embassy had moved.
Chinpo Shipping could not be reached for a comment on the charges.
“Singapore takes a serious view of our international obligations to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and related materials,” Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.
Additional reporting by Rachel Armstrong and Saeed Azhar in SINGAPORE; Editing by Robert Birsel