The Sankei Shimbun reported on the 26th that a smuggling vessel containing North Korean weapons have been caught on their way to illegally entering Sri Lanka.
According to the Sankei, the Sri Lanka navy arrested the vessel containing the 68 automatic rifles manufactured by the Munitions Industry Department (No. 99 Department) of the Worker’s Party that was leaving from Chonjin to Sri Lanka.
The Sankei announced that when the Sri Lanka navy tried to capture the smuggling vessel on October in 2006 and February this year, the smuggling vessel opened fire so the Sri Lankan navy shot them down. On March in 2007, the Sri Lankan navy took the North Korean vessel near the shore and confiscated the North Korean weapons and arrested the captains.
Furthermore, the newspaper revealed that there was no sign implying the nationality but it was identified as North Korean due to the confiscated weapons which were identified by the former North Korean military men who defected to South Korea.
It was announced that the North Korean machine guns and antitank guns were planned to be passed over to the Anti-government guerrilla groups named the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka.
The U.S. appointed LTTE as a foreign terrorist group in 1997 and the EU also appointed the LTTE as a terrorist organization in April, 2007.
According to the newspaper, the Sri Lankan government conducted investigation and came to a conclusion that a Chinese weaponry company probably acted as an intermediary to smuggle the North Korean weapons to the anti-government guerrillas in Sri Lanka.
In regards to this incident, the Sri Lankan government raised complaints to the North Korean ambassador located in India and the Chinese government, but the both representatives are denying their relations to the illegal smuggling of the weaponry.