Published: Sun, December 17, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Australian Police Arrest Man Suspected of Brokering Missile Parts for N Korea


Authorities identified the man as Chan Han Choi, a South Korean-born Sydney man, CNN affiliate Seven Network Australia reported Sunday.

MELBOURNE-Australian police said on Sunday they had arrested a man accused of working on the black market to sell missile components and coal on behalf of North Korea-the first charges ever brought in Australia over the sale of weapons of mass destruction.

He also planned to transfer coal from North Korea to entities in Vietnam and Indonesia. Police said there is no evidence that the governments of those two countries were aware of the plan.

It will be alleged in court the man was involved in: "brokering the sale of missiles and missile componentry and expertise from North Korea to other worldwide entities", the police statement read.

Gaughan said the trade could have been worth "tens of millions of dollars" if successful.

The AFP will allege the man was involved in brokering sales of missile components, including software for the guidance of ballistic missiles, as well as North Korean military expertise, to worldwide entities.

Pyongyang had previously warned that Australia would "not be able to avoid a disaster" if it followed USA policies towards Kim Jong-un's regime.

Mr Chan did not appear in Parramatta local court this morning and has been refused bail.

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

Speaking to the media in Sydney today, Gaughan said there was no suggestion "that there are any weapons or missile componentry that came to Australian soil".

The maximum penalty for the offenses is 10 years' imprisonment, police said.

"Any individual who attempts to fly in the face of sanctions can not and will not go unnoticed in Australia". Police would allege all of the activity - allegedly a classic black market operation created to sell products from North Korea to other worldwide entities - occurred offshore.

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

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