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Crew detained in Thailand insist they were heading for Lanka

2009-12-23 12:03:39
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A five-man crew charged in Thailand with illegal arms possession insisted their plane was headed for Sri Lanka and not Iran when it was seized in the Thai capital with a cache of North Korean weapons, media reports from Thailand reported today.

Defense lawyer Somsak Saithong told reporters today that the five men — four from Kazakhstan and one from Belarus — as saying that their flight plan called for a refueling stop in Bangkok before flying on to Sri Lanka.

But according to a flight plan seen by arms trafficking researchers, the aircraft was chartered by Hong Kong-based Union Top Management Ltd., or UTM, to fly oil industry spare parts from Pyongyang to Tehran, Iran, with several other stops, including in Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

The plane's papers described its cargo as oil-drilling machinery for delivery to Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan authorities had earlier rejected reports that the plane was heading for Sri Lanka.


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