Taiwanese businessman guilty of N. Korea sanctions violations commits suicide

Chen Shih-hsien jumped to his death Saturday morning from a residential building in Kaohsiung

Chen Shih-hsien after a previous suicide attempt in January 2018

Chen Shih-hsien after a previous suicide attempt in January 2018 (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The owner of a Taiwanese ship implicated in 2017 for illegally providing oil to North Korea committed suicide on Saturday (June 22), it was confirmed by authorities in Kaohsiung.

Chen Shih-hsien (陳世憲) jumped from the sixth floor of a residential building in Kaohsiung’s Yancheng District (鹽埕區) around 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. He died instantly upon impact.

Chen was the owner of the Billions Bunker Group which was the company responsible for a tanker vessel, the Lighthouse Winmore, involved in sanctions violations for providing fuel to North Korea. The Lighthouse Winmore was registered in Hong Kong, and is suspected of providing fuel to North Korea on multiple occasions in 2017 before being discovered by South Korean and U.S. authorities.

In addition to the sanctions violations, Chen was also found guilty for lying about the activities of his company to investigators. UDN reports that Chen had also previously made death threats against a Deputy Minister of Justice, Chen Ming-Tang (陳明堂), as well as his family.

Previously, in January 2018, after he was initially detained by the Ministry of Justice, Chen attempted suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills, but was discovered in time to be rushed to a hospital for treatment.

Chen was initially arrested in January 2018 on suspicion of being involved with the Lighthouse Winmore’s illegal transfer of oil to a North Korean vessel at sea. He was formally charged in July 2018 with the crimes of violating sanctions and illegally delivering oil to North Korea as well as making false statements.

UDN reports that he served 119 days in prison, and was on a two year probationary period before committing suicide. During his trial, Chen maintained that he had been framed, telling investigators that he knew a Chinese middleman was transferring the oil to another ship, but that he was unaware its destination was North Korea.

Scene of Chen's death (Central News Agency photo)