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Australian man allegedly acting for North Korea charged over weapons of mass destruction, breaching UN sanctions and arms sales

From the AFP - some heavyweight charges.

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The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has arrested a 59-year-old Sydney man for allegedly acting as an economic agent for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Government (North Korea) in Australia, in breach of both United Nations (UN) and Australian sanctions. Notably, the man has also been charged with brokering sales and discussing the supply of weapons of mass destruction.

This is the first time a person has been charged under the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995 (Cth) in Australia.

Operation BYAHAUT commenced earlier this year when a 59-year-old man from Eastwood, NSW, was identified as a person of interest to the AFP.

As a result of extensive investigations, the AFP alleges the man was acting as an economic agent of North Korea through his facilitation of various exports from North Korea.

The AFP believes the man was generating income for the North Korean Government, contrary to the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 (Cth) and the Commonwealth Regulations relating to sanctions against North Korea.

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Specifically, it will be alleged in court the man was involved in:

  • brokering the sale of missiles and missile componentry and expertise from North Korea to other international entities; and
  • attempting to transfer coal from North Korea to entities in Indonesia and Vietnam.

The AFP will allege the missile componentry identified could contribute to the delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction.

AFP officers conducted search warrants in Sydney yesterday, Saturday, 16 December 2017), and the man was subsequently arrested.

He has been charged with acts under the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 (Cth); the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995 (Cth) and the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 (Cth)and will appear before Parramatta Local Court today. The maximum penalty for these offences is 10 years’ imprisonment.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan, National Manager Organised Crime and Cyber, said investigators carefully and methodically investigated the actions of this individual over a period of months.

“This case is like nothing we have ever seen on Australian soil. 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,” Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.

“The Australian public should be assured that police have acted to ensure no direct risk to our community. The AFP endeavours to support international efforts to maintain peace and security.”

“Any individual who attempts to fly in the face of sanctions cannot and will not go unnoticed in Australia.”

Investigations are continuing and further charges against the man have not been ruled out.

 

What are the specific charges against this man?

The AFP will allege that:

WMD Act offences (two charges)

  • The man provided services, being brokering services, that would or may assist a weapons of mass destruction program, and the provision of the services was not authorised by a permit or written notice, contrary to s 11 of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995 (Cth) (Law Part Code: 91754).

UN Act offences (two charges)

  • The man  engaged in conduct that contravened a United Nations sanction enforcement law, namely the provision of brokering services for the sale of missiles and related expertise from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, contrary to s 27(1) of the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 (Cth) with reg 11(2) of the Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulations 2008 (Cth) (Law Part Code: 88348).

Autonomous Sanctions Act offences (two charges)

  • The man engaged in conduct that contravened a sanction law, namely the provision to a person or entity of a brokering service for the sale of coal from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), that assisted with or was provided in relation to an extractive or related industry in the DPRK, contrary to s 16(1) of the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 (Cth) with regulation 13(1) of the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 (Cth) (Law Part Code: 91757).

What actions have prompted these charges?

  • We will allege that the man provided services to a Weapons of Mass Destruction Program and discussed the sale of specialist services and ballistic missile technology, with a view to generating income for the North Korean regime. 
  • We will further allege those discussions have included the establishment of a ballistic missile production facility, the supply of missile construction plans and the provision of North Korean technical specialists for training and development outside of North Korea.
  • We will also allege he discussed the possible sale of missile guidance systems in an effort to generate further income for North Korea.  

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