Asia Pacific Daily published a comprehensive article based on reports from several media that China arrested a North Korean spy at home in early June and confiscated 30 million yuan (US$4.6 million) and some gold bars.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, a Japanese media, which received information on June 11, first reported the news.
The South Korean media Chosun Ilbo reported, "The huge amount of cash and gold bars belonged to the North Korean military or the Worker’s Party."
The arrested spy was stationed in Dandong City, a city on China’s border with North Korea. He was referred to as "representative of the home country" and "General Manager." He was believed to have participated in the secret trade of materials that the United Nations embargoed against North Korean.
This arrest took place a few days after Vice chairman of the Workers’ Party Lee Yong-soo’s visit to China. Lee had a meeting with Xi Jinping in Beijing and returned on June 2. The Yomiuri Shimbun believed that China arrested the spy in order to apply pressure to North Korea because Lee Yong-soo expressed, during his meeting, that North Korea would continue its nuclear development efforts.
South Korea’s media JoongAng Ilbo also reported that, in March, a North Korean official tried to carry 20,000 yuan (US$3,000) to North Korea but was stopped at China’s customs at Dandong. He ended up not going to North Korea. Some analysts suggested, "Since China does not allow wiring Renminbi from banks to North Korea , the North Koreans can only transport cash. If China strengthens currency control [at the border], North Korea may have [no choice but] to smuggle or use international postal delivery vehicles to send cash."
The United Nations Resolution 2270, which was passed on March 2, required all member countries to cut bank connections with North Korea within 90 days.
Source: Asia Pacific Daily, June 14, 2016