Published: Sun, December 17, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Australian man charged with being 'economic agent' for North Korea

The AFP said the man, a naturalised Australian citizen, brokered the sale of missiles, missile components and expertise from North Korea to other worldwide entities, and discussed the supply of weapons of mass destruction.

The Australian Federal Police say the man discussed the sale of ballistic missile technology and other weapons information with the intent of generating income for North Korea in breach of global sanctions.

The AFP allege the man was generating income for Pyongyang by brokering the sale of missiles and componentry and expertise from North Korea to other worldwide entities and was trying to transfer coal from North Korea to bodies in Indonesia and Vietnam.

The police stressed that it was the first arrest under the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995 in Australia.

In September, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution that imposed a new batch of sanctions on North Korea's officials, economy, industry and military. He is facing six charges in connection with the acts.

"I think at the end of the day he would sell whatever he could to make money back for the North Korean government".

"We are not suggesting there are any weapons or missile componentry that ever came to Australian soil, nor that we believe that we identify any immediate threat to the Australian community".

But police insisted the man's actions did not pose any "direct risk" to Australians, with the actions occurring offshore.

Assistant Commissioner Gaughan explained how the "complicated investigation" still had many avenues to probe. "The AFP endeavours to support global efforts to maintain peace and security", Gaughan said in the police statement.

Mr Chan could face up to 10 years in prison and has been denied bail.

The man, who has lived in Australia for three decades, allegedly used encrypted communication services to facilitate the attempted trades, which included the transfer of coal from North Korea to entities in Indonesia and Vietnam.

He said the Australian police started investigating the man after tip-off from another global agency on another matter.

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