Man arrested over attempted WMD sale in Australia


SYDNEY-Australian police arrested a 59-year-old Sydney man for allegedly acting as a black market agent selling missiles and components for North Korea that could be used to make 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.

This is the first time charges have been laid for breaches under Canberra's Weapons of Mass Destruction Act and for violating United Nations sanctions against North Korea in Australia.

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

No weapons or missile componentry ever came to Australia, and authorities said there was no threat to the Australian community.

Chan is an Australian national who has been in the country for 30 years, reported The Australian newspaper.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said: "This case is like nothing we have ever seen on Australian soil".

"Any individual who attempts to fly in the face of sanctions can not and will not go unnoticed in Australia".

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In October the Australian government said they had received a letter from North Korea urging Canberra to distance itself from the Trump administration.

Global anxiety about North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's authoritarian government has steadily risen this year, with Washington calling on other United Nations members to cut ties with Pyongyang in order to squeeze the secretive regime.

"We're alleging all of the activity occurred offshore".

Mr Chan also was charged with brokering the sale of coal from North Korea to groups in Indonesia and Vietnam.

Authorities claimed he was also attempting to transfer coal from North Korea to buyers in Indonesia and Vietnam.

Commissioner Gaughan said: "This man is a loyal agent of North Korea, believing he was acting to serve some higher patriotic goal".

"We'll continue to carry out those inquiries over the coming months", Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.

He was arrested and charged in Sydney on Saturday and set to face Parramatta Bail Court late on Sunday morning.