Sydney man charged with being 'economic agent' for North Korea

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The Australian Federal Police arrested Chan Han Choi, 59, in Sydney and charged him with brokering sales of weapons of mass destruction, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"We believe this man participated in discussions about the sale of missile componentry from North Korea to other entities overseas as another attempt to try and raise revenue for the government in North Korea, again in breach of the sanctions", said Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan in a statement.

Australian man was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of acting as an economic agent for North Korea.

Cash-strapped North Korea has come under a new round of stricter United Nations sanctions this year after pressing ahead with its missile and nuclear programmes in defiance of worldwide pressure.

Choi is facing six charges related to brokering the sale of missile componentry and expertise from North Korea to other worldwide entities, and attempting to transfer coal from North Korea to entities in Indonesia and Vietnam.

A South Korean-born Sydney man has been charged with acting as an agent for North Korea in Australia. Police started investigating Choi after a tip-off from another worldwide agency on another matter, he said.

He was also allegedly trying to arrange the transfer of coal from the country to Indonesia and Vietnam.

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The AFP says it believes the man was generating income for the North Korean government.

Gaughan said the trade could have been worth "tens of millions of dollars" if successful. Gaughan said the charges related to his alleged activity over the past year, but that allegations dated back to 2008.

Mr Choi didn't appear or apply for bail when his matter was mentioned in Parramatta bail court on Sunday, and it was formally refused by Acting Magistrate Carl Milovanovich.

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

AFP assistant commissioner Neil Gaughan said his actions were investigated over a period of months.

The suspect could face up to 10 years in prison and has been denied bail.