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Thai court extends arms cargo plane crew custody by 12 days

RIA Novosti


BANGKOK, January 18 (RIA Novosti) - Thailand's Criminal Court has extended by 12 days the custody of the crew of an arms-laden airplane seized in Bangkok in mid-December, criminal prosecutors said Monday.

An Il-76 cargo plane carrying 35 tons of weaponry was seized during refueling at Bangkok's Don Muang airport on December 12. The plane's five crew - four Kazakhs and one Belarusian - were arrested and taken to Bangkok's Klong Prem Central Prison.

In line with Thai laws, a criminal case is investigated for up to 84 days, and each 12 days either the custody is extended or it is replaced with another restraint measure.

The crew, which has been refused bail by a Thai judge, is charged with transporting weapons without permission, illegally taking them to Thailand, and failing to inform officials of the cargo.

Thai officials have said the weapons shipment, which was being flown from North Korea to an unknown destination, included portable anti-aircraft missile systems and spare parts for ground-to-air missiles.

A United Nations resolution bans the transportation of certain weapons, including conventional arms, to or from North Korea, which is under international sanctions.

The crew members have said they were unaware of the military nature of the cargo. They say they were told the cargo was oil drilling equipment.

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