Australian Federal Police arrest man accused of brokering N. Korean missile tech overseas

There are more questions than answers surrounding a big bust in Sydney, Australia, that the assistant commissioner of the Australian Federal Police says “… is like nothing we have ever seen on Australia soil.” 

News.com.au reports:

A KOREAN-born man living in Sydney has been accused of brokering sales and discussing the supply of weapons of mass destruction on behalf of North Korea.

Choi Han Chan, the first person to be charged under the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act, has been formally refused bail by Parramatta Bail Court.

The 59-year-old man did not appear before Magistrate Carl Milovanovic, and is scheduled to appear in Central Local Court next week.

He faces six charges relating to provision of services for weapons of mass destruction in North Korea after being arrested at his Eastwood home on Saturday night.

“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,” a statement from the AFP read.

“The AFP believes the man was generating income for the North Korean government.”

The man, who is of South Korean descent, has been living in Australia for the past 30 years and the AFP will allege he was involved in brokering the sale of missiles and missile componentry and expertise from North Korea and other international entities.

Hwasong-12 North Korean missile

Court paper allege that Choi brokered the services, being the sale of missiles, knowing that it would assist a weapons of mass destruction program.

The documents reveal Choi allegedly brokered the sale of the missiles, a measurement system for the projectiles and “related expertise” from Kim Jong-un’s regime to a man named Raymond Chao.

The name Chao indicates Chinese ethnicity, which may signify that Chinese cooperation helped bring about this arrest. The ultimate destination of the technology is unclear, but Iran and Pakistan would be two possibilities that come to mind first. Were the components smuggled out through China? Are the Chinese actively tracking down sanctions violators? That would be the most reassuring interpretation of this sketchy data. 

There was clearly some overseas cooperation behind this arrest:

“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.

“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 the offences is 10 years imprisonment.

The screws are tightening on North Korea, the only question being whether it will be fast enogh and drastic enough to change the course of Kim Jong-un’s policies. Right now, it doesn’t look like it.

Hat tip: John McMahon

There are more questions than answers surrounding a big bust in Sydney, Australia, that the assistant commissioner of the Australian Federal Police says “… is like nothing we have ever seen on Australia soil.” 

News.com.au reports:

A KOREAN-born man living in Sydney has been accused of brokering sales and discussing the supply of weapons of mass destruction on behalf of North Korea.

Choi Han Chan, the first person to be charged under the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act, has been formally refused bail by Parramatta Bail Court.

The 59-year-old man did not appear before Magistrate Carl Milovanovic, and is scheduled to appear in Central Local Court next week.

He faces six charges relating to provision of services for weapons of mass destruction in North Korea after being arrested at his Eastwood home on Saturday night.

“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,” a statement from the AFP read.

“The AFP believes the man was generating income for the North Korean government.”

The man, who is of South Korean descent, has been living in Australia for the past 30 years and the AFP will allege he was involved in brokering the sale of missiles and missile componentry and expertise from North Korea and other international entities.

Hwasong-12 North Korean missile

Court paper allege that Choi brokered the services, being the sale of missiles, knowing that it would assist a weapons of mass destruction program.

The documents reveal Choi allegedly brokered the sale of the missiles, a measurement system for the projectiles and “related expertise” from Kim Jong-un’s regime to a man named Raymond Chao.

The name Chao indicates Chinese ethnicity, which may signify that Chinese cooperation helped bring about this arrest. The ultimate destination of the technology is unclear, but Iran and Pakistan would be two possibilities that come to mind first. Were the components smuggled out through China? Are the Chinese actively tracking down sanctions violators? That would be the most reassuring interpretation of this sketchy data. 

There was clearly some overseas cooperation behind this arrest:

“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.

“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 the offences is 10 years imprisonment.

The screws are tightening on North Korea, the only question being whether it will be fast enogh and drastic enough to change the course of Kim Jong-un’s policies. Right now, it doesn’t look like it.

Hat tip: John McMahon

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