The Australian Federal Police arrested a 59-year-old Sydney man on Saturday for allegedly acting as an economic agent for North Korea by brokering deals to sell its missile components to entities in other countries.

The police said there was evidence that Choi Han Chan was in contact with high-level officials in North Korea, and that the missile components he was dealing with could “contribute to the delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction”.

Chan has been charged with brokering sales and discussing the supply of weapons of mass destruction – the first time a person has been charged under the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995 in Australia.

Among the services Chan allegedly brokered include those relating to North Korea’s weapons programme, such as the sale of ballistic missile technology. He was also was charged with brokering the sale of coal from North Korea to groups in Indonesia and Vietnam.

The Australian police, however, said Chan’s actions did not pose any “direct risk” to Australians.

“This case is like nothing we have ever seen on Australian soil,” Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said. “The Australian public should be assured that police have acted to ensure no direct risk to our community.”

Chan, who has lived in Australia for 30 years, could face up to 10 years in prison and has been denied bail, BBC reported.