West News Wire: Authorities said on Wednesday that a former U.S. military pilot and flight instructor who owned an aviation consultancy in China is being held in Australia while authorities in his home country seek to extradite him on an unspecified accusation.

According to court documents, Daniel Edmund Duggan was denied bail when he appeared last Friday in Orange Local Court in the New South Wales state rural town of Orange, northwest of Sydney. Duggan claims to be a former U.S. Marine Corps major.

He was detained that day “in response to a request from the United States,” according to a statement from the Australian Federal Police.

Both the police and the Attorney-Department General’s issued identically worded statements that concluded, “As the matter is before the courts, it would not be proper to comment more.”

Defense Minister Richard Marles told his department last week to investigate whether any former Australian military personnel had been recruited to work for the Chinese air force.

His move followed a report that up to 30 former British military pilots had been hired to train members of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

“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,” Marles said in a statement.

Britain’s Defense Ministry said it was taking “decisive steps” to prevent Chinese attempts to recruit serving and former British pilots.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin was asked at his regular news briefing in Beijing on Tuesday to comment on a report of Duggan’s arrest amid investigations of pilots being hired to train China’s military.

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Wang replied, “I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned.”

Duggan is scheduled to next appear in court in Sydney on Nov. 4, when he can apply for bail.

He is being held in custody under Section 15 of the Extradition Act that prevents a judge from releasing him on bail unless there are “special circumstances,” court documents show.

The charge that Duggan is to face remains sealed.

The U.S. Justice Department declined to respond in a statement when Duggan was arrested; the department has 60 days to request his extradition.

Additionally declining to comment was the American Embassy in Canberra, the capital of Australia.

According to Duggan’s LinkedIn profile, AVIBIZ Limited, “a comprehensive consultancy company with a focus on the fast growing and dynamic Chinese Aviation Industry,” has employed him as general manager since 2017. The headquarters of AVIBIZ are in the eastern Shandong city of Qingdao.

Until 2002, according to Duggan, he served in the US Marine Corps for 13 years. During his service, he qualified as an instructor pilot and an AV-8B Harrier fighter pilot.


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