Australian police have arrested a former US Marine Corps pilot and flight instructor at the request of US authorities for his work in China.
Daniel Edmund Duggan, 54, was arrested on 21 October in Orange, NSW, Australia and appeared in court on the same day, according to court records, his lawyer, and two police sources.
Duggan was denied bail and taken to Bathurst jail. He will appear in court in Sydney in November, where bail applications will be considered.
The arrest follows the US and its allies, such as the UK, cracking down on China reaching out to former military pilots.
A spokesperson from the Australian Federal Attorney-General’s Department said, “An individual was arrested on 21 October 2022 pursuant to a request from the United States of America for their provisional arrest.
“As the matter is before the courts, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”
The FBI made the request to the Australian Federal Police for the arrest of Duggan and will likely seek to extradite him.
Australia has a treaty with the US that allows the latter to make a request for extradition within 60 days of the arrest.
Duggan is a former US citizen who moved to Australia after over 12 years of service in the US military.
He started a business called Top Gun Tasmania, which provided tourists with fun rides from ex-military pilots in two different fighter jets — the British Jet Provost and the Chinese CJ6a Nanchang.
In 2014, Duggan moved to Beijing and sold Top Gun Tasmania, according to company filings.
Since 2017, he has worked in Qingdao, China as the managing director of AVIBIZ Limited, which Hong Kong company records show was registered by Australian passport holder Daniel Edmund Duggan in 2017.
The company describes itself as “a comprehensive aviation consultancy company with a focus on the fast growing and dynamic Chinese aviation industry”. AVIBIZ Limited was formally closed in 2020.
Last week, World of Aviation reported that the Australian Defence Force would launch an investigation into UK newspaper claims that ex-air force pilots are training the Chinese armed forces in aircraft such as Typhoons, Jaguars, Harriers and Tornados.
It followed The Times of London reporting that former RAF personnel were being paid AU$430,000 a year to help China “develop its tactics and technological expertise”.
The Australian then subsequently revealed that RAAF veterans were part of the Western cohort of 30 who were approached through a South African flight school acting as an intermediary.