A South Korean-born Sydney man has been charged with acting as an agent for North Korea in Australia.
The 59-year-old is alleged to have attempted to broker sales for Pyongyang including components used in ballistic missiles.
The Australian Federal Police say the naturalised Australian, named Chan Han Choi, is alleged to have used encrypted communication to broker sales and discuss the supply of weapons of mass destruction.
He is reported to have lived in Australia for 30 years.
He is accused of generating tens of millions of dollars for Pyongyang by arranging the sale of missiles.
He was also allegedly trying to arrange the transfer of coal from the country to Indonesia and Vietnam.
Police said his actions contravened both United Nations and Australian sanctions against North Korea.
They also said the man was acting to generate income for Pyongyang by arranging the sale of computer software used for guiding ballistic missiles as well as expertise from North Korea to other “international entities.”
Choi is the first person to be charged under Australia’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Act and could face a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
Federal police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said the charges related to his alleged activity over the past year, but that allegations dated back to 2008.
“This man was a loyal agent of North Korea, who believed he was acting to serve some higher patriotic purpose… This case is like nothing we have ever seen on Australian soil,” he said.
He added more charges could be filed against Choi.
Choi didn’t appear or apply for bail in a Sydney court Sunday, and bail was formally refused.