Australian Man Charged as Weapons 'Agent’ for North Korea

Federal authorities in Australia have charged a Sydney man with brokering weapons and other illegal sales worth millions of dollars for North Korea. Police say 59-year-old Chan Han Choi, a naturalized Australian citizen of Korean origin, broke both UN and Australian sanctions in his alleged dealings with “high-ranking officials in North Korea.” In a case that is the first of its kind for Australia, Chan has been charged under the country’s 1995 Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act. He allegedly used encrypted communications to broker deals, some involving components used in ballistic missiles, to generate funds for Pyongyang’s weapons program. At a Sunday press conference, the Australian Federal Police described Chan as a “loyal agent” who “believed he was acting to serve some higher patriotic purpose,” the BBC reports. Chan was taken into custody on Saturday night and could face up to 10 years in prison on the charges.