BANGKOK - Thai security forces seized more than 35 tonnes of arms from a cargo plane and arrested five crew members after the aircraft made an emergency landing to refuel at a Bangkok airport, officials said on Saturday.
Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the action was taken after the plane had landed at Don Muang airport and suspicious cargo was found on board.
We have detained five crew. But we can't confirm where the plane is heading to. Roughly, the destination is in Asia, probably South Asia, and the plane came from North Asia, he told Reuters.
Monthon Sutchukorn, a deputy spokesman for the Thai air force, said the plane had departed from North Korea but had no further details.
An air force official involved in the inspection, who declined to be named, said the Thai authorities had been asked by the United States to investigate the plane and its cargo.
We were approached by the United States, seeking our cooperation to examine the suspected plane. It came from North Korea and was heading for somewhere in South Asia, probably Pakistan, the official told Reuters.
Media reports said the plane had initially sought permission to land at Bangkok's main Suvarnabhumi international airport but had been diverted to the capital's second airport, Don Muang.
Local media said four of the crew members were from Kazakhstan and one from Belarus.
(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Khettiya Jittapong; Writing by Alan Raybould; Editing by Michael Roddy)