Sydney man charged with acting as agent for N Korea

Sydney man charged with acting as agent for N Korea

"This man is a loyal agent of North Korea, believing he was acting to serve some higher patriotic objective".

Federal police said Sunday that they had arrested an Australian man who was charged with acting as an economic agent for North Korea by trying to help the isolated country sell its missile parts and other military technology overseas. Police had arrested the man yesterday.

South Korean-born Chan Han Choi has since been charged.

There was no threat to Australians and that the man was not considered a "spy", AFP assistant commissioner Neil Gaughan told the media in Sydney on Sunday.

In its long effort to evade those sanctions, North Korea has gone to the black market to sell weapons, counterfeit currency and drugs, including a shipment of 275 pounds of heroin discovered when a North Korean cargo ship called the Pong Su ran aground on an Australian beach in 2003. The man's alleged goal was to generate income for Pyongyang from overseas. "I think at the end of the day, he'd sell whatever he could to make money back for the North Korean government". He declined to name what countries were the intended recipients of the componentry, highlighting political sensitivity.

The AFP alleged Choi attempted to sell coal to Vietnam and Indonesia in breach of sanctions, and attempted to sell missile guidance software to "international entities".

Sydney man charged with acting as agent for N Korea

Police believe he had been in with "high ranking officials in North Korea".

The assistant commissioner said the actions of the man, who has been living in Australia for more than 30 years, were "serious breaches of national and global law".

"It is vitally important that all nations ... enforce those sanctions".

Federal police confirmed part of a conversation was mistakenly broadcast via its Periscope account while "testing a piece of social media broadcasting equipment". The probe was still ongoing, he added, and could lead to more charges.

Australian Federal Police officers arrest a man during operation BYAHAUT. "This case is like nothing we have ever seen on Australian soil", he said.

Mr Choi is expected to appear at Sydney's Central Local Court via video link on Wednesday. The man faces up to 18 years in jail if convicted.

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