A South Korean family is trying to get the right to sell a North Korean vessel in Mexico as part of restitution for money it is owed for the death of one of their family members in the so called Hermit Kingdom.
Kim Dong-sik, a 53-year-old pastor, was abducted by North Korean agents in China in 2000 and can be presumed dead, a US court ruled in April. It ruled that Pyongyang should pay $330m to Kim’s family, who are US citizens.
The Mu Du Bong ship is seen as a way to get a first installment on this payment. The ship has been held by Mexican authorities since last July when it smashed into some coral reefs in Mexican waters.
On Tuesday the Kims’ lawyers said they would appeal after a Mexican court declined to consider their petition to place a lien on the ship, which would give them the legal right to seize it.
“We want to get the boat into our hands and sell it, and put the money towards the judgment against North Korea,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the family’s lead lawyer.