Former US Military Pilot Working in China Arrested in Australia

Former US Military Pilot Working in China Arrested in Australia
Former US Military Pilot Working in China Arrested in Australia

Washington - A former US military pilot who worked in China has been arrested in Australia. According to Australian court documents, he faces extradition to America. Australian Federal Police arrested Daniel Edmund Duggan, 54, on Friday last week in the town of Orange in New South Wales.

He had appeared in court on the same day as confirmed by court records, two police sources and his lawyer. His lawyer appeared via videoconference. According to two police sources, Duggan was denied bail and taken to the nearby Bathurst prison.

Daniel Edmund Duggan is a former US citizen and the Australian Federal Police acted on Washington's request for his arrest ahead of possible formal extradition proceedings. This was conveyed by a police source who is not authorized to speak in public. Duggan's next court appearance will be in Sydney in November to consider any bail application. Details of the US arrest warrant and the charges he faces remain under wraps. "A person was arrested on October 21, 2022 based on a request from the United States for provisional arrest," a spokeswoman for the Federal Attorney General's Department said in a written statement to Reuters Tuesday (10/25/2022).

"Since the matter is in court, it is inappropriate to comment further." The arrests came the same week Britain warned dozens of former military pilots to stop working in China or face prosecution on national security grounds under the new law. Australia is also investigating reports that some of its former fighter pilots have been approached to work in China.

Aviation sources told Reuters the FBI was looking for Duggan because of his work in China. His lawyer, Dennis Miralis, said he could not comment. Duggan moved to Australia after a decade in the US military and started a business called "Top Gun Tasmania", hiring former US and British military pilots to offer tourists joyrides on fighter jets. This is confirmation from company records and flight sources.

Three pilots told Reuters, Duggan also flew ex-military planes in the Australian air show. The "Top Gun Tasmania" website says Duggan flies the Harrier jump jet in the US Marines and is an aerial combat instructor. He moved to Beijing in 2014 and soon after sold "Top Gun Tasmania". Duggan's LinkedIn profile says he has worked in Qingdao, China, since 2017 as managing director of AVIBIZ Limited, which is described as "a comprehensive aviation consulting firm with a focus on the fast-growing and dynamic Chinese Aviation Industry".

Hong Kong company records show AVIBIZ Limited was registered there by Australian passport holder Daniel Edmund Duggan in 2017 and dissolved in 2020. Duggan could not immediately be reached for comment. Under Australia's extradition treaty with the United States, the US government will have 60 days to file an extradition request. The treaty allows Australian citizens to be extradited.

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