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North Korean diplomat recalled after arrest for trafficking rhino horn

The North Korean government says the official is also no longer a diplomat at the country's embassy.

Picture: Nastasya Tay/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The International Relations Department says a high ranking North Korean diplomat has been recalled after being arrested for trafficking rhino horn.

The North Korean government says the official is also no longer a diplomat at the country's embassy.

Meanwhile, Interpol says an international operation across 11 countries from January to October led to the arrest of 376 people for trafficking elephant tusks and rhino horn.

The International Relations Department says the official was arrested in Maputo, Mozambique, in May this year after 4.5 kilograms in rhino horn was found in a car.

Spokesperson Nelson Kgwete says almost $100,000 in cash was also found in the car, which was registered to the North Korean embassy in Pretoria.

"The return of the official in North Korea is related to his arrest in Mozambique."

Kgwete says he cannot confirm who the official is but says the official has returned to North Korea.

The operations saw members of 25 trafficking groups arrested while animals were seized including 173 tortoises.