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Thai court okays extradition of gun runner supplying Chinese arms to Naga rebels

Discussion in 'International Relations' started by Soumya, Apr 2, 2014.

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  1. Soumya

    Soumya Major STAR MEMBER

    Jun 10, 2013
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    NEW DELHI: In a shot in the arm for the Indian security establishment, a Thailand court on Monday approved the extradition of a Thai gunrunner suspected of selling Chinese arms to Naga rebels. Wuthikorn Naruenartwanich alias Willy, who was arrested by Thai authorities in September last year on a request from India, had allegedly struck a deal worth $1 million to supply arms from China to NSCN (IM).

    The probe, being carried out by National Investigation Agency (NIA), has got Chinese defence giant Norinco in its crosshairs as a subsidiary of the company was to supply the arms. The consignment, consisting of over 1,000 guns apart from rocket launchers, was to be shipped to India via Bangladesh.

    Willy's extradition to India will help agencies unravel the arms supply chain between China and Indian insurgent groups and also provide crucial details about Bangladeshi links in the chain. This is the first successful extradition from Thailand after India signed an extradition treaty with the country last May after about 20 years of negotiations.

    The development is significant as it opens doors for further cooperation between the two countries on the security front. Importantly, Thailand has been a hub of Indian underworld gangs with both Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan having wide networks in the country. It was in Thailand that Dawood henchmen attacked Chhota Rajan in 2000. Even Indian Mujahideen had been planning to cultivate networks in Thailand in order to get sophisticated weapons from there.

    Confirming the approval of extradition, Indian government sources said Willy has been given 30 days time to appeal against the order in a higher court. Sources said the order came about thanks to robust evidence produced by NIA against Willy in the court, a fact acknowledged by the court as well.

    NIA got hold of emails exchanged between NSCN (IM) leaders and Willy about the impending deal of 1,000 fire arms including AK rifles, machine guns and rocket launchers where transaction cost for procurement of arms has negotiated from $2 million to $1 million. It also has evidence of $7 lakh paid to a Chinese firm by Willy for the deal. The middleman who introduced NSCN (IM) leaders to Willy is now a witness in the case.

    According to the NIA charge-sheet, NSCN (IM) got in touch with Willy after it failed to procure arms through militia. Willy put them in touch with one Yuthna, a representative of Chinese firm TCL. Home ministry sources said TCL was a intermediary that was to purportedly procure arms from Chinese defence giant Norinco.

    For the deal, NSCN (IM)'s chief arms procurer Anthony Shimray had paid $1 lakh to Willy in May 2009 and later the money was sent to TCL. NIA has electronic receipt of the payment. Shimray also received $800,000 in Bangkok from NSCN (IM) out of which $700,000 was paid to TCL via Willy. Rest of the sum was paid to shipping agent Kittichai of Intermarine Shipping Company of Bangkok.

    The transaction, however, never materialized as situation in Bangladesh was not favourable to NSCN (IM) at that time and shortly after Shimray was arrested by Indian agencies in September, 2007.

    Thai court okays extradition of gun runner supplying Chinese arms to Naga rebels - The Times of India
    thesolar65 likes this.
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