In late April, the Associated Press reached out to Daimler regarding the dictator’s various S-Classes after they were spotted at a number of important meetings. The German car manufacturer revealed that it had no idea how Kim Jong-un procured the cars as the sales of luxury goods to North Korea is banned under U.N. sanctions. Thanks to The New York Times, we now know how the cars got to North Korea.
The investigation started at a port in Rotterdam, Netherlands where a pair of bulletproof Mercedes-Benz armored cars were loaded onto a ship. After 41 days at sea, the cars arrived in China and were then shipped to Japan on a separate ship before once again being moved to another ship and sent to South Korea.
At a South Korean port, the ship carrying the cars met up with a Russian ghost ship and were transferred over. This Russian ship turned off its mandatory tracking devices and went missing until it appeared in Vladivostok, Russia. On the same day the cars arrived in Russia, a pair of transport planes were flown out from North Korea to reportedly pick the cars up in Vladivostok.
What concerns people most about this revelation is not the fact that North Korea is using a complicated shipping network to import Mercedes-Benzes but that it is likely using similar means to import fuel sources and technologies it needs for its weapons program.