Colombia puts Chinese ship captain under house arrest

A Chinese freighter, the Da Dan Xia, loaded with unregistered weapons and en route to Cuba is seen anchored at the port of Cartagena, Colombia on March 3, 2015, after the captain was arrested on arms trafficking charges (AFP Photo/Joaquin Sarmiento)

Bogota (AFP) - A judge has ordered house arrest for the Chinese captain of a freighter Colombia stopped in port for carrying unregistered Cuba-bound weapons and materiel, a prosecutor said Sunday.

Wu Hong will remain in Cartagena, monitored by authorities, while waiting for the investigation into the cargo to be completed, the prosecutor said.

The Hong Kong-registered Da Dan Xia, which has been held for a week, was loaded with undeclared military equipment including about 100 tonnes of gunpowder, 99 projectile bases and 3,000 artillery cartridge cases, according to Colombian authorities.

Colombian prosecutor Luis Gonzalez Leon has said Wu will be charged with weapons trafficking.

The freighter was due to stop in the northern Colombian city of Barranquilla before ending its journey in Havana.

The ship's documentation "conflicted with what was actually found" aboard the vessel, a Colombian prosecutor said.

But Beijing's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying maintained that the Da Dan Xia was operating within Chinese and international law.

A North Korean cargo ship, Chong Chon Gang, was found to be carrying Cuban weapons including surface-to-air missile systems and launchers when it was stopped in the Panama Canal in July 2013.

The cargo was hidden under 200,000 bags of sugar.

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