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Pattaya Daily News

12 February 2010 :: 11:02:48 am 13080

Thailand: N/Korean Arms Dealers Deported Uncharged

The five-man crew of the aircraft carrying weapons from North Korea to Ukraine via Sri Lanka will be deported to their home countries after Thailand's Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) dropped all charges against them, a senior prosecutor said on Thursday.
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Bangkok, the 12th of February 2010 [TNA]: The crew—pilot Mikhail Petukjou, 54 from Belarus and Alexandr Zrybnev, 53, Viktor Abdullayev, 58, Vitaliy Shumkov, 54, and Ilyas Issakov, 53, all from Kazakhtan—will be deported to their respective countries.


OAG Special Cases Division director-general Thanapit Moonlapruek said the agency decided not to indict the aircrew after concluding that the arms found in the plane were not intended for use in Thailand as they had landed in Bangkok only to refuel before continuing to their intended destination. In addition, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution Number 1874 (2009) did not stipulate any legal action to be taken against the crew.

Moreover, the governments of Belarus and Kazakhstan had submitted letters through Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting the temporary release of the crew to face investigation in their home countries.

Mr Thanapit said the OAG dropped all charges against them as prosecuting the crew would negatively affect the good relations existing between Thailand, Belarus and Kazakstan.

They will  be freed from Bangkok Remand Prison once the court order is granted. They will be taken to the Immigration Bureau for the procedures to deport them to their respective countries, the OAG official said.

Their Russian-made plane refuelled at Don Mueang airport on December 12 enroute from North Korea to Ukraine, via Sri Lanka. After searching, the Thai authorities found that new, ready-to-use military weapons including explosives, rocket-propelled grenades, components for surface-to-air missiles and other armaments totally weighing some 35 tonnes, were carried on the aircraft.

The five men were arrested and charged with carrying weapons without permission, illegally bringing them to Thailand and failing to inform officials of their items. The shipment breached the UN Security Council resolution which bans North Korea from exporting arms and weapons-related material. The Thai government has informed the United Nations over the impounded weapons.

Mr Thanapit said the case could not be considered as an extradition-related case, but only as illegal entry, that is violating immigration law. He said the case was finalised. (TNA)

Reporter : Methawee   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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