Monday, July 2, 2012

More murders on the Mekong River

Monday, 02 July 2012 14:13 Mizzima News

Three people have been found shot dead onboard a long-tailed speedboat on the Mekong River, in another incident that has the markings of drug-gang violence which had tapered off during the past 8 months, following the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the river.

An isolated stretch of the Mekong River in Laos. Photo: Wikipedia

The dead are believed to be Burmese nationals who were travelling about 10 kilometres north of the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Burma meet, said a Thai source, according to an article in The Bangkok Post on Sunday. The area is notorious for drug smuggling.

Authorities are investigating whether the three people are linked to a drug gang led by Naw Kham, a suspected Burmese drug dealer, who was arrested in Laos and extradited to China last month.

It is still unclear who attacked the boat, the source said.

On Oct. 5 last year, 13 Chinese sailors on two Chinese-flagged cargo boats were killed in drug-related violence. Naw Kham was arrested in April for alleged links to the murders. He was No. 1 on China’s most wanted list, and he was extradited on May 10.

Mizzima reported on May 10 that Naw Kham was sent to China on a chartered plane dispatched by Chinese authorities. Liu Yuejin, the director of the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, said that China, Laos, Burma and Thailand are now working closely together to fight transnational crime.

The Naw Kham gang reportedly had more than 100 members armed with AK assault rifles, M16 rifles, bazookas and machine guns, said the Xinhua news agency. It has been accused of trafficking, kidnapping, murder, looting and other crimes along the Mekong River for many years. A number of the gang members have turned themselves over to Burmese authorities in the Tachilek area of Burma, according to media reports.

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