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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 May, 2003, 03:04 GMT 04:04 UK
N Korea ship 'heroin haul found'

By Dominic Hughes
BBC correspondent in Sydney

The Pong Su
The drugs haul was one of the biggest in Australia's history

Australian police say they have found another 75 kilograms of heroin that were smuggled into the country by a North Korean ship seized in a raid last month.

Australian special forces boarded the freighter, the Pong Su, after 50 kg of heroin were found in a vehicle in April, sparking a diplomatic row between the two countries.

A police spokesman says the 75 kg of heroin were found buried in bushes on the south-east coast of Australia.

It is the same area in which 50 kg of heroin were seized from a vehicle in April.

Diplomatic row

The spokesman says this latest batch appears to be identical in form and packaging.

Together the drugs haul is one of the biggest ever recorded in Australian history.

Police believe the drugs came from the Pong Su, which was raided by Australian special forces after the first batch of heroin was discovered.

About 30 crew members were arrested and charged with drug smuggling.

They included an official from North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, which led to a diplomatic row after the Australian Government issued a protest to North Korea.

Australia is one of the few Western countries to maintain formal contacts with Pyongyang, but this incident has tested that relationship.

It has also been cited by officials in the United States, who say it is evidence the North Korean Government is involved in illegal activities, including drug smuggling.

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