The Australian Federal Police (AFP) on Sunday arrested a man from Sydney for allegedly acting as an economic agent for North Korea with the intent of raising revenue for the Pyongyang government.
Authorities have identified the man as South Korean-origin Chan Han Choi, 59, CNN reported.
The AFP said the man, a naturalised Australian citizen, brokered the sale of missiles, missile components and expertise from North Korea to other international entities, and discussed the supply of weapons of mass destruction.
He also planned to transfer coal from North Korea to entities in Vietnam and Indonesia.
However, there was no evidence that the governments of those two countries were aware of the plan.
These actions are alleged breaches of UN and Australian sanctions. He is facing six charges in connection with the acts.
“This case is like nothing we have ever seen on Australian soil,” CNN quoted AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan as saying.
“This is the first time charges have been laid under the Commonwealth Weapons of Mass Destruction Act in Australia, and the first time we have laid charges specifically for alleged breaches of UN sanctions against North Korea.”
Gaughan said the business activity occurred offshore and that “there had been no risk to the Australian public and that no weapons, or missile componentry — which he said was software– had been imported into Australia.
“This man was a loyal agent of North Korea, who believed he was acting to serve some higher patriotic purpose.”
More charges against the man have not been ruled out, according to the police statement.