No 'outside forces' involved in arms plane seizure - Thai official

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A cargo plane originating from North Korea with a cache of illegal weapons was seized solely by Thai intelligence and security agencies, National Security Council secretary general Thawil Pliensri said on Friday.

A cargo plane originating from North Korea with a cache of illegal weapons was seized solely by Thai intelligence and security agencies, National Security Council secretary general Thawil Pliensri said on Friday.

The Il-76 plane carrying 35 tons of weaponry was seized during a refueling stop at Bangkok's Don Muang airport on December 12. Officials said the weapons included missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. The plane's ultimate destination has not been revealed.

Earlier media reports quoted Thawil as saying Thai authorities were acting on a tip from the U.S. and confirming there had been U.S. assistance in the seizure.

"There are no orders, commands or mandates given to us by outside authorities to undertake the action. Thailand has internal laws authorizing all operations, while it is obligated to UN Resolution 1874," he said, according to The Nation daily.

"Once we detect arms smuggling, we must impound them, seize them and dispose of them, then report all actions to the UN."

Thawil said Thailand was not creating more enemies through this operation and dismissed all political and mainstream criticism of it.

He said he expected more advice from the UN to proceed with the demolition.

"It would be greatly appreciated if the UN shouldered all of the financial burden," Thawil added.

According to media reports, the aircraft was registered with a company called Beibars, linked to Serbian arms dealer Tomislav Dmanjanovic.

It had previously been registered to three companies that the U.S. Department of the Treasury said were controlled by the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

The plane's crew, consisting of one Belarusian and four Kazakh nationals, was detained and placed into custody for 12 days as Thai police are investigating the incident.

BANGKOK, December 18 (RIA Novosti)

 

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