MELBOURNE – Australian police said on Sunday they arrested a man accused of working on the black market to sell missile and coal components in the name of North Korea, the first accusations filed in Australia for the sale of weapons of destruction massive
The man had been charged with two counts under an act that prevented the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, police said, and four others under legislation imposing sanctions by the United Nations and Australia against Korea. from North.
by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and other media such as Chan Han Choi, 59, who was said to have been living in Australia for more than 30 years and was of Korean descent.
He was arrested in the Sydney suburb of Eastwood on Saturday and the court was due to face later on Sunday, police said. He called the attention of the authorities earlier this year, said the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
"This man was a loyal agent of North Korea, who believed he was acting to serve a greater patriotic purpose," Assistant Commissioner of AFP Neil Gaughan told reporters
"This case is like nothing we have seen on Australian soil, "he said.
Police will allege that the man tried to negotiate the sale of missile components, including software for ballistic missile guidance systems, as well as trying to sell coal to third parties in Indonesia and Vietnam.
Gaughan said that the trade could have been worth "tens of millions of dollars" if it succeeded.
North Korea has stalled a new round of stricter sanctions by the United Nations this year after moving forward with its missile and nuclear programs in defiance of international pressure.
Tensions have dramatically increased in the Korean peninsula due to the launching of ballistic missiles and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, as well as joint military drills between South Korea and the United States that the North describes as preparation for war.
Pyongyang said its latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch in November had the reach to reach all of the United States.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday urged North Korea to carry out a "sustained cessation" of its weapons tests to allow talks on its missile and nuclear programs.
However, the North has shown little interest in the talks until it has the ability to hit the US mainland. UU with a nuclear-tipped missile, which many experts say has yet to prove.
Gaughan said the man had been in contact with senior North Korean officials but that no missile component arrived in Australia. He also said there was no indication that officials in Indonesia or Vietnam had participated in the attempt to sell coal.
"This is the black market 101," said Gaughan.
"We claim that all activity occurred on the high seas, and it was purely another attempt by this man to exchange goods and services as a way to raise revenue for the North Korean government," he said.
The man faces up to 18 years in prison if convicted. He did not apply for bail and will face the court on Wednesday.