Man Charged With Managing Sale Of WMD For North Korea
The Australian Federal Police have arrested and charged a Korean-born man living in Australia for the alleged brokering of sales and discussing the supply of weapons of mass destruction on behalf of North Korea.
Chan Han Choi was arrested at his Sydney home in Eastwood on Saturday evening.
He has been formally refused bail by Parramatta Bail Court as the first person to be charged under the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act.
The 59-year-old man is expected to appear in Central Local Court next week, facing six charges in relation to provision services for weapons of mass destruction in North Korea.
"As a result of extensive investigations, the AFP alleged the man was acting as an economic agent of North Korea through his facilitation of various exports from North Korea," said AFP in a statement.
"The AFP believes the man was generating income for the North Korean government."
The man, originally from South-Korea, has been living in Australia for 30 years and since then the AFP believe that he became involved in organising the sale of missiles and missile componentry and expertise from North Korea and other international locations.
The AFP allege that Choi knew that his actions, being the sale of missiles, would assist a weapons of mass destruction program.
Mr Choi's missile deals are believed to have been negotiated between Kim Jong-un's regime and a man named Raymond Chao between a period of August 5 and December 16 this year.
"This case is like nothing we have seen on Australian soil," said AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan.
"Any individual who attempts to fly in the face of sanctions cannot and will not go unnoticed in Australia.
"This man was acting as a loyal agent for North Korea who believed he was acting to serve some higher patriotic purpose.
"I think at the end of the day he would sell whatever he could to make money back for the North Korean government."
There is believed to be no threat on Australian soil with no evidence that any weapons or missile components were ever brought to Australia.
"We're alleging all the activity occurred offshore...the Australian public should be assured that police have acted to ensure no direct risk to our community," said Mr Gaughan.
"We'll be alleging in court this man was brokering the sale of missile componentry and technical expertise from North Korea to other international entities - we believe this man participated in discussions about the sale of missile componentry from North Korea to other entities abroad as another attempt to raise revenue for the government of North Korea.
"The missile componentry assisted in the guidance of ballistic missiles."
The maximum penalty for offences such as those carried out by Choi is 10 years imprisonment.