28 December 2009

Mystery Plane bound for Sri Lanka

Following up our earlier story about arms smugglers busted in Thailand, it turns out the plane was bound for Sri Lanka - washingtonpost.com

A plane seized in Bangkok with a cache of North Korean weapons wasn't headed to Iran, a senior Thai police official said Wednesday, contradicting a report from arms trafficking experts.

Separately, the five-man crew insisted their final destination was Sri Lanka and not Iran, their lawyer said after visiting the jailed men.

Defense attorney Somsak Saithong told The Associated Press the crew also denied any knowledge of accused international weapons trafficker Victor Bout, who is in the same prison battling extradition to the United States on terrorism charges.

There has been much speculation since the plane was impounded Dec. 12 about where it was headed and whether it was linked to Bout.

'They told me they don't know Victor Bout,' Somsak said. He quoted the five men - four from Kazakhstan and one from Belarus - as saying their flight plan called for a refueling stop in Bangkok before flying on to Sri Lanka. They have been charged with illegal arms possession.

By: Brant

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