Tons of weapons seized from plane at Thai airport

AP News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2009 9:13 AM

Five foreigners were detained and their foreign-registered aircraft impounded after it landed in the Thai capital Saturday with tons of war weaponry on board that originated in North Korea, Thai officials said.

Air Force spokesman Capt. Montol Suchookorn said the chartered cargo plane originated in North Korea's capital Pyongyang and requested to land at Bangkok's Don Muang airport to refuel.

Government spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn confirmed the seizure and the arrests, saying the weapons included "missiles, explosives and tubes." He told The Associated Press that the material was being transferred to a Thai military facility but provided no further details.

The Web site of the Manager Group said the aircraft, an Ilyushin 76 transport from Kazakhstan, was traveling from North Korea to Sri Lanka when it asked to land in Bangkok.

Officials, it said, found up to 45 tons of weapons on board and detained four citizens of Kazakhstan and one from Belarus.

Thai Television station TPBS showed footage of the five men detained and trucks loaded with the weapons being driven out of the airport to a military base in the nearby province of Nakhon Sawan. It said the cache amounted to 35 tons of weapons including rocket-propelled grenades.