‘Nice’ Australian was a ‘loyal agent’ for North Korea

'Nice' Australian was a 'loyal agent' for North Korea

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Chan Han Choi was arrested at his Sydney unit on Saturday night

Further details have emerged about the Australian man accused of being an economic agent for North Korea.

Chan Han Choi, 59 was arrested in Sydney by Australian police and charged with brokering sales and discussing the supply of weapons of mass destruction.

Police allege he broke UN and domestic sanctions against the country in the first case of its kind in Australia.

They described him as a “loyal agent” who believed himself to be acting for “some higher patriotic purpose”.

Mr Choi was born in South Korea but lived in Australia for more than 30 years and was a naturalised citizen, police said.

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He is the first person to be charged under Australia’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Act


According to The Australian newspaper, the 59-year-old was a hospital cleaner who lived by himself in a rental unit in the Sydney suburb of Eastwood and was known in the local Korean Christian community.

Some of his former church friends told the newspaper they had broken off their friendship with Mr Choi when he began to express support for North Korea.

He had allegedly “turned”, and visited the rogue regime frequently, the newspaper said.

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“I hated that my husband met with him and I don’t like anything related to North Korea; many people are scared for their safety,” the wife of a former friend told The Australian.

“All those trips to North Korea — he was very private and we thought it was very strange.”

The pair said they were shocked to hear of Saturday’s arrest, but weren’t surprised. Mr Choi had told them that he sent his own money to North Korea, they said.

His neighbours described a man who was “softly spoken”, “polite” and “nice”, to local newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Choi is the first person to be charged under Australia’s weapons of mass destruction act and faces six charges.

Police allege he discussed the sale of ballistic missile technology with foreign entities, and brokered the sale of commodities such as coal, in order to raise income for North Korea.

He could face up to 10 years in jail and was released on bail on Sunday.

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