Sunday, December 13, 2009

IL-76 aircraft travelling from North Korea detained in Thailand



Thai authorities have seized tonnes of weapons from an eastern European plane travelling from North Korea.The plane, headed for South Asia, was searched when it landed at Don Mueang airport yesterday. Five foreigners on board the aircraft were detained, the weapons confiscated, and the plane impounded.

The transport plane, thought to be a charter flight en route from the North Korean capital Pyongyang, had stopped for refuelling. Security authorities asked to search the aircraft after being tipped off by their American counterparts. The armed forces, police, immigration and customs officers are investigating the mystery surrounding the arms and ammunition cache, found concealed in 12 crates and weighing about 35 tonnes.

Government spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn confirmed the seizure and the arrests, saying the weapons included "missiles, explosives and tubes". Lt Gen Thangai Prasajaksattru, commander of the Central Investigation Bureau, said five men from eastern Europe had been detained. "There were a lot of weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades, missiles and other war weapons," he said.

Four of the suspects hold Kazakh passports and the other a Belarus passport. They were identified as Alexandr Zrybnev, 53, Viktor Abdullayev, 58, Vitaliy Shumkov, 54, Ilyas Issakov, 53, from Kazakhstan; and Mikhail Petukhou, 54, from Belarus. Air force spokesman Montol Suchookorn and special branch police said the chartered cargo plane originated in Pyongyang.

"It was a cargo flight that requested to land at the civilian side of the airport," Cpt Montol said.The Russia-made Ilyushin Il-76 transporter aircraft carried five people on board. When customs and immigration authorities examined the aircraft they found suspicious packages in tightly-sealed wood and metal crates.They were told that the shipment comprised "parts" of war weapons. Authorities asked the five people to leave the aircraft and alerted the air force, which is in charge of the airport.

The suspects have told the interrogators little. Authorities have yet to confirm where the aircraft, registered 4L-AWA, originated. At this stage they believe it was registered in Georgia, or Russia. The flight schedule says the plane was headed for Colombo, Sri Lanka. Security authorities suspect the weapons could be destined for Sri Lanka or the Middle East.

One suspect told authorities that the aircraft flew from Russia to North Korea where the weapons were loaded. The foreigners are in the custody of the Crime Suppression Division. They face charges of violating aviation regulations, arms trafficking and making a false declaration. The weapons were transferred to the air force's arms depot in Wing 4 in Nakhon Sawan's Takhli district.

The Defence Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Justice Ministry are reviewing international regulations to find out if the aircraft and the cache can be seized permanently. Foreign embassies will be asked to take part in the investigation. Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Thani Thingpakdi said the government's response is in line with UN Security Council resolutions.

One unconfirmed report says the plane had made regular trips across the region. An air force official involved in the inspection said Thai authorities had been asked by the United States to investigate the plane and its cargo. "We were approached by the United States, seeking our cooperation to examine the suspected plane. It came from North Korea and was heading for somewhere in South Asia," he said. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Interpol was also involved. A spokesman for the US embassy in Bangkok, Michael Turner, said he was unaware of the incident.

Bangkok Post

5 comments:

Russia-made Ilyushin Il-76 transporter aircraft detained on order of USA is a blatant violation of all moral standards and International law.

The acton onpart of Thiland is infringment on soveranity of NORTH KOREA and SRI LANKA.

We the peace loving people of Asia condone this act of piracy being done on orders of U.S.A & request
Thiland to reverse its decesion.

Russia & China should condem this heigh handed ness on part of America

This is only one aircraft, at any given time there is probably 20-30 aircraft with ilegal arms flying around the world. This includes US govt. backed dealers.

Only problem is the crew dont have much to do with the cargo onboard, these crews carry all sorts of cargo. food, mining equip, emergency rescue equip, weapons(rare) etc..

All I am saying is dont blame the poor crew they are only trying to make a living , they may not know what they are carring at any given time.

While it is good that at least one shipment of North Korean weapons was stopped, it is a bit hypocritical of the US to stop a foreign plane in a foreign country (unless the Thais have a law allowing such searches by the US) while at the same time supporting other dictatorial regimes that do just about the same thing.

The dam Americans dont want the other countries to carry out illegal arms trafficing.... They want to do it themselves... America and its henchman rouge nations like the UK have been involved in stealing from the poor countries... Look at Iraq... It was such a peachful and prowerful nation.... Now??? Its in ruins thankx to the Dumb Americans..... We should all rise up against these Americans and the British and all coutries that support international terrorism... They are the Terrorist!!!!!

Immigration and naturalization laws of all countries require all aircraft,crew, passengers and cargo clear customes and immigrations upon landing, comming from any international locations. This air craft was subject to search regaurdless of the request of the USA.
Don't be nieve the crew on this aircraft knew what there cargo was and i'm sure they were being paid a hefty premium to carry such volitile cargo. It is there responisibility to insure that the cargo matches the manifest.
I have been a Pilot for a international cargo carrier for 22 years I ensure my crew inventory all cargo, and balance it againt the manifest this insures that I know what i'm carring, want land me in a prision in some third world country for life. The captain is responsibility for the cargo on board the aircraft.
This time it was illigal arms, next time it may be human trafficing , drugs, or a biological that could wipe out life on the entire planet.
A famous saying goes all it takes for evil to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing! what will you do?

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