Taiwan oil supplier to North Korea in failed suicide bid

Kaohsiung businessman accused of chartering tanker to deliver oil

The Lighthouse Winmore, reportedly chartered by Chen Shih-hsien.

The Lighthouse Winmore, reportedly chartered by Chen Shih-hsien. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taiwanese businessman accused of supplying oil to North Korea in violation of international sanctions tried but failed to commit suicide at his home, reports said Friday.

Chen Shih-hsien (陳世憲) is suspected of having chartered an oil tanker which went on to pump oil products into a ship bound for North Korea at sea last October. South Korea seized the ship and told Taiwan one of its citizens was involved, leading to Chen’s interrogation by prosecutors in Kaohsiung on January 2.

He was allowed to return home after posting bail of NT$1.5 million (US$51,000) but later claimed he had been fooled by a Chinese middleman into delivering the oil, denying knowledge of its destination.

Chen reportedly took sleeping pills at his home Friday morning but was rushed to hospital and released around 11 a.m., the Central News Agency wrote.

The authorities have taken measures against several companies linked to Chen, in effect blocking them from making any financial transactions, while the businessman has been barred from leaving the country.