An alleged former U.S. Marine fighter pilot and flight instructor has been arrested in Australia after a warrant was issued by the United States for his provisional arrest.
"An individual was arrested on 21 October 2022 pursuant to a request from the United States of America for their provisional arrest,” the Australian attorney general’s department said in a statement.
“As the matter is before the courts, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”
It is not known what Duggan is alleged to have done as the court documents, arrest warrant, and charges have been sealed.
The former Marine is expected to face extradition proceedings to the United States sometime in November in Sydney, with the United States having just 60 days to apply for extradition after the arrest has been actioned.
It also alleges he has experience flying a range of military aircraft, including the AV-8B Harrier “Jump Jet,” T2C Buckeye, A4J “Skyhawk, Hawks, and Mig29, was a senior tactical instructor trained in weapons and tactics, air combat, and low-altitude flying and has been contracted as a military tactical instructor and consultant.
Australia Investigating Reports Former Pilots Training Chinese PilotsThe report of the arrest of the former military pilot comes after Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles launched an investigation into allegations from the BBC that Beijing has been headhunting former and serving members.
The BBC alleges that the UK government became aware of the recruitment drive targeting military pilots who have experience on fast jets—like the Typhoon, Jaguar, Harrier, and Tornado—and helicopters in 2019 and that Beijing had ramped up its efforts recently with current serving personnel being targeted.
The training is alleged to have been completed in South Africa, with the UK MOD noting to the press that other allied nations have also been targeted.
It is believed the Chinese regime's recruitment drive is to help PLA fighter pilots understand how Western forces operate, which could be crucial in any conflict between the West and China.
In an email to The Epoch Times, Marles said that he had "asked the [defense] department to investigate these claims and come back to my office with clear advice on this matter."
“When our ADF personnel sign up to the Defence Force, they do so to serve their country, and we are deeply grateful of that,” he said. “I would be deeply shocked and disturbed to hear that there were personnel who were being lured by a paycheck from a foreign state above serving their own country.”
UK to Introduce Laws to Stop Intelligence LeaksThe Australian defense minister's request for the investigation comes as the UK's Minister of Armed Forces and Veterans, James Heappey, said the UK government would be looking to introduce new laws that would ensure retired defense members did not pass on intelligence to countries in the future.
"It certainly doesn't match my understanding of service of our nation—even in retirement—to then go and work with a foreign power, especially one that challenges the UK interest so keenly," he told BBC Radio 4's Today program.
Meanwhile, a MOD spokesperson said: "We are taking decisive steps to stop Chinese recruitment schemes attempting to headhunt serving and former UK armed forces pilots to train People's Liberation Army personnel in the People's Republic of China."
"All serving and former personnel are already subject to the Official Secrets Act, and we are reviewing the use of confidentiality contracts and non-disclosure agreements across Defence, while the new National Security Bill will create additional tools to tackle contemporary security challenges—including this one," the spokesperson said.