Weapons of Mass Destruction Charge in Australia: Man Brokering with North Korea

AFP investigation uncovers alleged breaches of UN Sanctions and Weapons of Mass Destruction Act in Australia

Op Byahaut arrest 2

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.

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.





  • The alleged offender is a naturalised Australian citizen, of Korean descent.

What are United Nations and Australian sanctions with respect to North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea -DPRK)?


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.


North Korea’s Submarine Ballistic Missile Program Moves Ahead: Indications of Shipbuilding & Missile Ejection Testing

38 North is a project of The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

38 North is a website devoted to informed analysis of North Korea.

While it strives to break new ground, the site’s main objective is to bring the best possible analysis to both seasoned North Korea watchers and general audiences alike. Too often analysis of the North is permeated by inexperience, littered with inaccurate information or grounded in poorly deduced reasoning. We believe no one really knows for sure what is going on in North Korea, but we can at least try to understand the possibilities. Similarly, anyone who professes certainty should be viewed with the greatest skepticism.

To accomplish these objectives, 38 North harnesses the experience of long-time observers of North Korea and others who have dealt directly with North Koreans. It draws on other experts outside the field who might bring fresh, well-informed insights to those of us who follow North Korea.

38 North covers not only North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction, but digs beneath the surface of political, economic, social and other developments. North Korea is not a hermit kingdom, but rather a country that has been in the throes of change, good and bad, for over a decade. Those changes have important implications for the Korean peninsula, the East Asian region and the international community.

38 North strives as much as possible for ideological balance, publishing opposing opinions, and utilizes various technologies to analyze military, economic, social and other developments north of the DMZ. While it is an American-based project, it draws on experts from around the world to provide international perspectives as well.

To read this newly published analysis of North Korea’s Submarine Ballistic Missile Program and to view current satellite imagery of the Sinpo South Shipyard:



Assassination of Kim Jong Nam Trial: What We Know So Far

The Kim Jong Nam murder trial began on October 2, 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is currently in recess until November 6, 2017. Here’s what we know so far:

Kim Jong Nam was the older half-brother of North Korea Kim Jong Un. They shared the same father.

Kim Jong Nam was assassinated on February 13, 2017 at the Kuala Lumpur Airport in Malaysia. His assassination was caught on surveillance cameras.

In the video, Kim Jong Nam is approached from behind by a woman who smears something onto his face, particularly in the area of his eyes. A second woman then repeats the process. The women each go to separate restrooms and wash their hands and then leave the airport without incident.

Kim Jong Nam gestures for help from airport security and is escorted to a medical area of the airport. He is medically distressed and is transported to a hospital but pronounced dead at the hospital. (Initial reports said he was dead within 20 minutes, but the trial account says it was approximately 2 hours before death occurred.)

The chemicals are later determined to be a VX nerve agent classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.

The women are identified via video surveillance and are arrested within a few days of the incident. They claim they thought they were part of a prank for a reality TV show and did not know the chemicals were lethal. Both women claimed they were directed by four men known only by nicknames.

The women have been charged with murder and face death by hanging if it convicted.

This combination of file handout pictures released by the Royal Malaysian Police in Kuala Lumpur shows suspects Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam, left, and Siti Ashyah of Indonesia, right, who were detained in connection to the Feb. 13, 2017, assassination of Kim Jong-Nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. (AFP/Getty Images)

The women face death by hanging if convicted.


The accused are Indonesian citizen Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong, 29.

Murder occurred at 9 am while Nam waited near the check-in counter in the departure hall at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. He was travelling alone.

Nam was carrying a passport that said his name was Kim Jong Chol, which is the name of Kim Jong Un’s younger brother.

See More about Kim Jong Chol, Eric Clapton Super Fan at:


The North Korean government requested that no autopsy be performed on the body. The attorney general’s office in Kuala Lumpur overruled the request and the autopsy was performed on February 15. No next of kin was available to identify the body and North Korea officially denied the dead man was Kim Jong Nam, insisting instead it was actually the Kim Jong Chol identified by the passport. Through a secret process, DNA was obtained from Kim Jong Nam’s son and the body was confirmed to be that of Kim Jong Nam. (Kim Jong Nam’s family is now in hiding.)

The autopsy confirmed acute VX nerve agent poisoning. Nam’s body was released to the North Korean embassy under pressure. Malaysian and North Korean relations are now very tense.

The trial was briefly moved to a lab to safely view VX stained clothing belonging to both the victim and the suspects.

Next, video footage showed Kim Jong Nam after the attack in distress, escorted to an onsite medical clinic, walking first and then staggering, and on a stretcher being wheeled to an ambulance.

Video also showed the two suspects fleeing the scene after washing their hands.

It was revealed that Kim Jong Nam had $100,000 in cash on him when he died.

Each woman’s lawyer was hired by her own country and blame NK for the attack, insisting women are just dupes.

Police revealed that Huong had done a practice “prank” at the airport two days before.

About two weeks into the trial, the issue of the mystery men who are suspected of directing the two women began to unfold.

The men have only been named in court by the pseudonyms they gave to the women:

Mr.Y, seen walking with Doan into the airport and also seen pouring liquid into Doan’s hands.

Mr. Chang, seen with Siti Aisyah at a restaurant and also seen pouring liquid into her hands.

Hanamori, also known as Grandpa/Uncle, suspected of giving orders to Mr. Y and the apparent ringleader of the operation.

James who is suspected of recruiting Siti Aisyah.

(Although it has not yet been discussed in the trial, Interpol issued an international red warrant for Ri Ji Hyon, Hong Song Hac, O Joong Gil and Ri Jae Nam. These four are charged in the crime as well, a charge called “Common Intention,” but are considered to be “still at large.”)

On October 24, the trial moved to the scene of the crime. The overwrought suspects were transferred to wheelchairs and one was crying. They had to wear bullet proof vests and handcuffs.

A North Korea scientist named Ri Jong Chol has not been charged although he did own a car that took two of the men to the airport on the day of the crime. Due to “insufficient evidence” he was deported back to NK.

It was revealed Nam had a total of 4 passports all bearing the name  of Kim Chol.

The four wanted men all left Malaysia by air on the same day as the murder and video shows attempts to make changes to their appearances after visits to the restroom.

The trial resumes on November 6, 2017.