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Burma Sentences 8 Chinese Nationals for Weapons Trafficking

A court in northern Myanmar, also known as Burma, has sentenced eight Chinese nationals to long prison terms for illegally trafficking weapons near the border with India.

Sources have confirmed to VOA that the men were caught in April with firearms, grenades, bulletproof vests and ammunition. Details of the trial, which took place about 130 kilometers northwest of Mandalay, have not been made public.

Local journalist Sai Min said in an interview with VOA's Burmese service that the men may have been arms dealers.

"I heard those Chinese are selling those weapons, I don't know which country made, to ethnic revolutionary arms groups there [India]. According to my knowledge, they are just arms smugglers," said Min.

Seven of the men were given 13 years in prison and the eighth suspect was sentenced to 10 years.

The men were arrested after a car chase near the township of Tamu. The area, which hosts several ethnic rebel groups, is well known for drug and arms smuggling.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.