A former US military pilot and flight instructor who worked in China was arrested in Australia and faces extradition to the United States, Australian court documents and company records show.
Australian Federal Police arrested Daniel Edmund Duggan, 54, in the New South Wales town of Orange on Friday and appeared in court the same day, court records show and two police sources and his lawyer confirmed.
His lawyer appeared via video conference, and Duggan was denied bail and taken to nearby Bathurst Prison, two of the sources said.
Duggan is a former US citizen and federal police were acting on a US request for his arrest, possibly ahead of formal extradition proceedings, said one of the police sources, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Duggan’s next appearance is in Sydney in November for a bail hearing. Details of the US arrest warrant and the charges he faces are under seal.
“An individual was arrested on October 21, 2022, pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant issued by the United States of America,” a spokesperson for the federal Attorney General said in a statement. “As the matter is before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
The arrest came in the same week Britain ordered dozens of former military pilots to stop working in China or face prosecution on national security grounds under new laws. Australia is also investigating reports that some of its former fighter pilots have been approached to work in China.
An aviation source said the FBI wanted Duggan because of his work in China. His attorney, Dennis Miralis of Nyman, Gibson and 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 ex-US and British military pilots to give tourists fighter jet rides, company records and aviation sources confirmed.
Duggan also flew ex-military aircraft at air shows in Australia, three pilots said.
Top Gun Tasmania’s website says Duggan flew Harrier jump jets in the US Marines and was an air combat instructor.
He moved to Beijing in 2014 and soon after sold Top Gun Tasmania for the company’s Australian show.
Duggan’s LinkedIn profile said he has been working in Qingdao, China, since 2017 as managing director of AVIBIZ Limited, which he described as a “comprehensive aviation consulting firm with a focus on China’s dynamic and fast-growing aviation industry.”
Hong Kong company records show AVIBIZ Limited was registered 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 has 60 days to make an extradition request. The treaty allows for the extradition of Australian citizens.