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Brokers without borders: How illicit arms brokers can slip through gaps in the Pacific and international arms control system 

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Arms Control
Case Study


Australia & Pacific


New Zealand


18 October 10


Oxfam International



On 11 December 2009 a 35 tonne cache of conventional weapons left North Korea bound for Iran. The following day the arms were intercepted and seized by authorities in Thailand. In an unexpected twist it was soon discovered that the plane chartered to carry out this illegal transfer was leased by a New Zealand registered shell company. To date those who arranged the transfer have not been held accountable.

The case demonstrates that the existing international arms control system is not adequately combating illicit brokering. Illicit arms brokers continue to use global networks of companies and individuals to exploit regulatory gaps between jurisdictions to carry out their transactions with relative impunity.

An effective Arms Trade Treaty, supported by robust national legislation and regional cooperation, will provide solutions to closing these gaps and stopping the irresponsible trade in deadly weapons.

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