Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Naw Kham sentenced to death in China

Tuesday, 06 November 2012 15:40 Mizzima News

A Chinese court on Tuesday sentenced Shan drug lord Naw Kham and three of his subordinates to death for the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River last year, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

Another two members of Naw Kham's gang received a death sentence with reprieve and eight years in prison.

All six suspects were charged with intentional homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping and ship hijacking.

All six defendants said at the court they would appeal Tuesday's verdict.

Naw Kham learned his trade as a captain and an administrator in former Burmese drug lord Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army until he surrendered to the military regime in 1996.

A report by the Shan Herald Agency for News said Naw Kham had been living in the border town of Tachilek since his surrender to the Burma’s military in 1996 and led of a 100-strong People's Militia Force, also known as the Hawngleuk Militia.

A 2006 raid on his home in Tachilek netted 150 assorted weapons, two compressors and countless numbers of methamphetamines, officials said.

He managed for nearly a decade to avoid efforts by the region's law enforcement agencies to capture him because of the “protection and blessings”' of both villagers and Burma’s military in the Tachilek and Kentung area of Shan State, officials said. He was looked upon as a “Robin Hood,” for the doling out of money he extorted from Mekong shipping.

A member of Naw Kham's family recently told The Bangkok Post’s Spectrum magazine in a telephone interview that he had close ties with many of the region's authorities, but since his arrest by the Chinese “'no one wants to know him any more. He's now on his own.”

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