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    12 Chinese murdered in the Mekong River in Chiang Saen District -Murderers executed

    Drugs 'cross from casino'
    Published: 9/10/2011 at 12:30 AM
    Online news: Local News

    Twelve bodies have been found in the Mekong River in Chiang Rai's Chiang Saen district.

    The bodies of three Chinese men, their hands tied and handcuffed behind their backs, were found on Friday, and another nine bodies, also thought to be Chinese, were found yesterday.

    Police said most of the nine bodies had also been blindfolded, tied and handcuffed.

    The dead men are believed to have crewed two Chinese-flagged cargo ships which were hijacked by drug traffickers on Wednesday.

    The bodies have been sent to Chiang Saen hospital for an autopsy.

    Pol Col Popkorn Khuncharoensuk, Chiang Saen police chief, said he would ask the Department of Special Investigation to step in.

    Authorities from the Chinese embassy had been informed of the discovery and yesterday travelled to Chiang Saen to inspect the bodies.

    The grisly discovery has affected business in the district. Nikom Wiboonrungruang, a manager of Chiang Saen Shipping Company Ltd, said about 10 Chinese-flagged cargo ships were moored at Chiang Saen port as they dared not travel back to China due to safety concerns.

    The first find came on Friday when the body of a handcuffed Chinese man was found near the Chiang Saen port.

    Identified as Huang Yong, 30, he was the captain of the cargo ship Hua Ping, which was seized by soldiers of the Pa Muang task force during an anti-drug trafficking operation on the Mekong River on Wednesday after a clash with drug traffickers.

    His ship, which was carrying garlic and apples, and a second Chinese-flagged ship Yu Xing 8 Hao, which was transporting fuel, were thought to have been hijacked earlier by the traffickers.

    The attackers, who wanted to use the ships to smuggle drugs into Thailand from Burma, are thought to have killed Huang and his crew.

    Another two dead Chinese men were found later in the Mekong River.

    Their necks were broken and their faces covered with cloth, police said.

    The Pa Muang task force says it killed one suspected trafficker on the Yu Xing 8 Hao during the firefight.

    The others managed to flee overboard. The soldiers seized 520,000 speed pills kept in three sacks on the Hua Ping and 400,00 speed pills on the Yu Xing 8 Hao.

    The drugs were worth 100 million baht.

    A Chinese-owned casino near the Thai-Burmese border is suspected of being a transit point for drugs smuggled into Thailand, says the 3rd Region Army.

    Troops had seized methamphetamine pills from boats believed to have carried the drugs across from the casino, located on Burmese soil opposite Chiang Rai's Chiang Saen district, said 3rd army chief Wannathip Wongwai.

    The drugs were allegedly sent by the Burmese ethnic minority group the United Wa State Army (USWA).

    It is not known if the drugs found on the Chinese-flagged vessels came from the casino.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Bodies of 12 murdered Chinese found in the Mekong River in Chiang Saen District

    Shan drug kingpin blamed for 12 deaths in Mekong
    Published: 10/10/2011 at 12:00 AM
    Newspaper section: News

    A gang run by Nor Kham, a Shan drug trafficker, is thought to be behind the grisly murders of 12 Chinese boat crew members whose bodies were found in the Mekong River, says the army.

    Maj Gen Prakarn Chonlayuth, commander of the Pa Muang Task Force, said the gang hijacks ships plying the river and demands protection money from them.

    If they refuse to pay, they kill the crew and take over the ships to deliver drugs from Burma to Thailand.

    The 12 men are thought to have crewed two Chinese- flagged cargo ships— Hua Ping and Yu Xing 8 Hao— which were hijacked and ransacked by traffickers in the river on Wednesday.

    Shortly after, the Pa Muang Task Force stopped the ships and clashed with the traffickers, who were still on board, in Chiang Rai's Chiang Saen district.

    The bodies of three Chinese men, their hands tied and handcuffed behind their backs, were found floating in the river in Chiang Saen district on Friday and another nine bodies, also thought to be Chinese, were found on Saturday in the same district.

    Most of the nine bodies had also been handcuffed, tied and blindfolded.

    One drugs trafficker on the Yu Xing 8 Hao was killed during the firefight with the task force. The others managed to flee overboard.

    The soldiers seized 520,000 methamphetamine pills from the Hua Ping and 400,000 methamphetamine pills from the Yu Xing 8 Hao.

    Maj Gen Prakarn said the vessels had been hijacked in the river, about 20km north of Chiang Saen.

    Nor Kham, 40, wanted on Thai and Burmese arrest warrants for drugs trafficking, had expanded his illegal activities to collect protection money from Chinese-flagged cargo ships a few years ago, he said.

    Authorities obtained intelligence that the Nor Kham drugs gang killed all crew members of any vessel which refused to pay the gang protection money. He believes that's what happened in this case.

    About 400 armed men are thought to belong to the Nor Kham drugs gang, said Permpong Chavalit, deputy secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.

    Pol Col Popkorn Khuncharoensuk, Chiang Saen police chief, said immigration police informed him there were 13 Chinese crew on the cargo ships. One member of the crew remains missing.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Bodies of 12 murdered Chinese found in the Mekong River in Chiang Saen District

    Attack on Chinese ships was personal, says Chalerm
    Published: 30/10/2011 at 12:00 AM
    Newspaper section: News

    CHIANG RAI : Police have solid evidence which suggests that weapons were fired from the Thai side towards the cargo ships in which 13 crew members were found dead on the Mekong River earlier this month, said Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung.

    A background check on the victims shows they had no convictions for drugs offences, said Mr Chalerm, who oversees the national police.

    Still, he distanced the army from the attack, saying the operation was personal and had nothing to do with the military.

    Police have pressed charges of murder and tampering with evidence against a group of nine army officers including a major and a lieutenant over the deaths of the 13 men. The nine officers reported to Chiang Rai police on Friday.

    The victims were crew members of two Chinese-flagged cargo ships.

    Their bodies, handcuffed and bound and presenting gunshot wounds, were retrieved from the Mekong days after the attack.

    Before the bodies were found, it had been speculated the crew members had been killed by drug traffickers.

    One dead body and about 920,000 methamphetamine pills body were found on board by the nine officers, attached to the Pha Muang Task Force.

    Chinese authorities have urged Thailand to probe the attack and suspend shipping operations in the river.

    A senior Chinese official yesterday urged Thailand to provide compensation to the families of the 13 Chinese sailors killed in the attack.

    The request was made by Guo Shaochun, deputy chief of theDepartment of Consular Affairs, who was briefed of the progress of the investigation into the killings by Mr Chalerm at a resort in Chiang Saen district.

    Mr Guo yesterday expressed appreciation over the speedy investigation and called on Thailand to start considering compensation for the victims' families.

    He said the families would take action once the details of the attack unfold.

    Mr Chalerm said he has appointed a team of senior police to take charge of the case. The probe is headed by national police chief Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong with deputy national police chief Pol Gen Phanupong Singhara na Ayudhya serving as the chief investigator and deputy police chief Pol Gen Pansiri Prapawat in charge of interrogations.

    Mr Chalerm said the attack had received much attention in China and the country has taken a special interest in it by sending its own authorities to join the investigation.

    Two senior police officials have left for China to report developments to authorities there.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Bodies of 12 murdered Chinese found in the Mekong River in Chiang Saen District

    China to join Mekong river patrols after murder of sailors
    Beijing announces plan to help protect cargo ships in 'Golden Triangle' area after 13 were killed on Chinese vessels

    guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 8 November 2011 07.51 GMT

    China and its south-east asian neighbours are to launch patrols to protect ships along the Mekong river, after 13 Chinese sailors were murdered on its upper reaches last month.

    The crew members of two Chinese cargo ships were attacked on 5 October in the "Golden Triangle", an area where the borders of Burma, Thailand and Laos meet, that is notorious for drug smuggling.

    The deaths triggered a public uproar in China, where the safety of nationals abroad has become an increasingly sensitive topic, and Beijing demanded that its neighbours capture the perpetrators and strengthen safety along the river.

    Nine Thai soldiers later turned themselves in over the killing.

    The Chinese government has bought five ships that will be refitted for the patrols, said a report on the website of the People's Daily citing Fang Youguo, general secretary of an association of Chinese shipowners whose vessels use the Mekong.

    The boats will "patrol key areas along the Mekong river, offering protection for legal cargo ships from China, Laos, Burma and Thailand", Fang said, according to the report.

    China's growing presence in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world has prompted attacks, kidnappings and hijackings, and the issue has become a sensitive one for Chinese officials, who do not want to appear weak in protecting nationals.

    The 3,050-mile(4,900km) Mekong snakes from China into south-east Asia, where it forms the border between Burma and Laos, and then Thailand and Laos. In 2001, the four countries signed an agreement to regularise shipping on the river.

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    Re: Bodies of 12 murdered Chinese found in the Mekong River in Chiang Saen District

    Shan drug lord suspect nabbed in Laos, sent to China
    Published: 27/04/2012 at 02:03 AMNewspaper section: News


    Jai Norkham, a suspected drug kingpin on Thai authorities' most-wanted list and the man believed to hold crucial information about the murder of 13 Chinese boat crew members on Oct 5 last year, has been arrested in Laos.


    Norkham, who is an ethnic Shan and alleged to be a former aide of late drug kingpin Khun Sa, ex-leader of the defunct Mong Tai Army rebel group, was captured along with seven other people yesterday, a Thai security source said.

    Norkham, his Lao close aide Tao Maitaeng, and six others were detained during a raid by Lao authorities in Ban Mom in Tonpheung district of Bokeo province of Laos in the early hours of yesterday, the source said.

    Bokeo province is just opposite Chiang Rai in Thailand.

    The Lao government did not reveal further details about the arrest of Norkham and the seven other suspects, but said they were taken to China immediately after their arrest, the source said.

    Chiang Rai police chief Surachet Thopoonyanont said it is understood there was an agreement between the Lao and Chinese governments regarding the extradition of Norkham.

    Pol Col Surachet said Thailand could still ask to later take Norkham from China to face charges in Thailand because a number of arrest warrants for him have already been issued here in connection with previous drug cases.

    Prior to the arrest of Norkham, his mistress, whose name was not revealed, was arrested in Ban Luang Saenjai on April 13 in the same Lao district, allegedly in possession of one million methamphetamine pills, 1kg of gold, and 74 million baht cash, another source said.

    However, about 44 million baht was later reported to be missing when the money was handed over to Laos' Bokeo authorities by the team which made the arrest, the source said.

    Since the 13 corpses of Chinese boat crew members were found last October along with an SK47 rifle, and 920,000 methamphetamine pills, Norkham has become the Chinese authorities' most wanted criminal suspect.

    Norkham was wanted not only by Chinese authorities but also their Myanmar counterparts who had information that he was allegedly involved in a drug smuggling gang operating between Thailand and Myanmar.

    Nine Thai soldiers have also been charged with murdering and concealing the corpses because police believed they were in some way linked with Norkham's gang.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Bodies of 12 murdered Chinese found in the Mekong River in Chiang Saen District

    Alleged drug lord blames Thai Army for Mekong killings

    Deutsche Presse-Agentur
    Beijing September 21, 2012 1:00 am

    Alleged Golden Triangle drug lord Nor Kham told a Chinese court yesterday that he believed Thai soldiers had killed 13 Chinese sailors in the Mekong River last October, reportedly retracting his earlier confession to the crime.

    Prosecutors in the southwestern city of Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, charged Nor Kham and five others with murder, drug trafficking, kidnapping and hijacking ships, state media reported.

    But in a surprise move for China's carefully orchestrated trial system, Nor Kham denied any involvement in the case when questioned in court yesterday, despite reportedly confessing his role in the killings earlier.

    The semi-official China News Service said prosecutors asked him if he had ordered the hijacking of Chinese boats, killing the crew and planting drugs on the vessels.

    In court, Nor Kham denied all charges, saying: "The [crime] was carried out by the Thais. I knew about it through television."

    The agency quoted Liu Yuejin, director of the Chinese Public Security Ministry's anti-narcotics bureau, as saying Nor Kham's denial was unlikely to change the course of the trial.

    "Even though Nor Kham has withdrawn the confession, it won't change the facts of the crime, because the evidence is conclusive," Liu was quoted as saying.

    Myanmar citizen Nor Kham, 44, was extradited from Laos to China in May after joint operations by police in Thailand, Laos and China.

    State broadcaster China Central Television identified two co-defendants from Myanmar going by the Chinese names Zha Bo and Zha Tuobo.

    Two more defendants of Thai and Laotian nationality were named as Sangkang Zhasa and Zha Xika, while the nationality of the sixth defendant, Yi Lai, was not provided.

    China's official Xinhua news agency quoted Dong Lin, the court's vice president, as saying before the trial that it was "uncommon in China's judicial practice for foreigners who commit crimes against Chinese nationals outside China to be brought to justice before a Chinese court".

    Reports said relatives of the 13 Chinese victims and embassy personnel from the defendants' countries attended the trial, which will run until Sunday.

    Xian Yanming, Yunnan's deputy police chief, told the China Daily newspaper earlier that Nor Kham's gang had "colluded with renegade Thai soldiers in premeditated attacks on Chinese ships". They wanted to "make it appear that [Thai] authorities had uncovered a major drug-related case" by planting drugs on the vessels and pretending that the Chinese sailors were drug traffickers who died in a shoot-out, Xian said.

    THE NATION

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    Re: Bodies of 12 murdered Chinese found in the Mekong River in Chiang Saen District

    Four handed death penalty for Chinese sailor deaths
    Published: 6/11/2012 at 03:48 PMOnline news: Asia

    Four members of a gang accused of masterminding the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River last year were sentenced to death by a court in southwest China on Tuesday.


    A Chinese vessel sails down the brown waters of the Mekong River (or Lancang River in China) that separate China (L) from Myanmar. Four members of a gang accused of masterminding the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River last year were sentenced to death at a court in southwest China on Tuesday.

    The sailors were killed in October 2011 in a raid on two Chinese cargo boats on the Mekong, an attack thought to have been carried out by a notorious gang in the "Golden Triangle", an area known for drug production and smuggling.

    The reading of the verdicts was shown live on state television.

    The trial finished in September after the gang of six men pleaded guilty to intentional homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping and hijacking, state news agency Xinhua said in September.

    Another defendant received a suspended death sentence, while a sixth man was handed eight years in prison at the sentencing at Kunming Intermediate People's Court.

    The gang, based in Myanmar's northern Shan state, was led by Myanmar national Naw Kham, who was one of the men sentenced to death.

    At least one of the remaining five gang members is Thai, but the nationalities of the other four is unclear.

    The "Golden Triangle" is where the Mekong River runs through China, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos.

    Last year's incident sparked an angry reaction from China, which summoned diplomatic envoys from Thailand, Laos and Myanmar and asked authorities to speed up investigations into the incident.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Bodies of 12 murdered Chinese found in the Mekong River in Chiang Saen District

    Naw Kham execution set for Friday

    Published: 28 Feb 2013 at 09.29
    Online news: Local News

    Golden Triangle drug lord Naw Kham and three associates will be executed Friday in Yunnan province, Chinese media reported Thursday.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The trial of the Golden Triangle drug lord Naw Kham (right) and five associates was largely an open-and-shut case, and resulted in a death sentence last November.

    A report by China Economic Net said the Kunming Intermediate People's Court set the execution date on Wednesday.

    The executions will be by lethal injection, the court ordered.

    Naw Kham, a Shan drug trafficker who helped turn the Golden Triangle drug trade from opium to methamphetamines, was captured in a Chinese drug sting last year and tried for the murders of 13 Mekong River sailors in a drug deal in 2011.

    Along with the drug lord, three other men will be executed, the court ordered: Thai citizen Hsang Kham, Zha Xika, who holds Lao nationality, and Yi Lai, who is described by the court as stateless.

    The Thai and Myanmar consuls in Kunming have been granted permission to talk with the condemned citizens of their countries. Relatives have been notified and allowed to meet, Chinese media said.

    After the execution, the court will hand over their remains, wills and personal belongings to their relatives or relevant consulates.

    The court's announcement kept up the Chinese pressure on Thailand in the case. It said Naw Kham and his gang "masterminded and colluded with Thai soldiers in an attack on two Chinese cargo ships, the Hua Ping and Yu Xing 8, on Oct. 5, 2011 on the Mekong River".

    Beijing has pressed Thailand in a number of ways to formally arrest and try Thai troops who allegedly pulled the trigger on the Chinese sailors, in a case that shocked and enraged China.

    Officially, Thai authorities are investigating the case.

    According to evidence at Naw Kham's trial, he masterminded the kidnapping of Chinese sailors and hijacked cargo ships in exchange for ransom.

    Naw Kham directed the largest armed drug trafficking gang in Southeast Asia before his arrest. But his trial and imminent execution have had little effect on trafficking in the region.

    Huge seizures of drugs from the Golden Triangle continue in Thailand, India and China. On Thursday, Australia announced a record seizure of crystal methamphetamine or ya ice that orginated from the Golden Triangle region.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Bodies of 12 murdered Chinese found in the Mekong River in Chiang Saen District

    Naw Kham taken for execution on TV

    Published: 1 Mar 2013 at 14.49
    Online news:

    KUNMING - Four convicted murderers sentenced to death for killing 13 sailors on the Mekong River were shown on live television Friday being taken from a Chinese prison to their place of execution.

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    This frame grab taken from Chinese television CCTV on March 1, 2013, shows convicted murderer Zha Xika of Laos being led from his prison cell as he is transferred for execution in Yunnan Province.

    Naw Kham, a Burmese drug gang leader, and three of his accomplices were condemned to die by lethal injection for killing the Chinese sailors on the Mekong in October 2011.

    It was unclear whether state broadcaster CCTV planned to show the actual moment the men were put to death.

    Naw Kham, dressed in a beige cardigan and grey trousers, smiling slightly as he was marched, handcuffed, towards the reception of the prison in Kunming in the southern province of Yunnan.

    But he licked his lips nervously and grimaced as a restraining rope was tied around his arms and upper body, before he emerged, ankles shackled, into bright sunlight and the lenses of multiple cameramen, to be put into a van and taken to his execution.

    His fellow inmates, identified by state media as Hsang Kham from Thailand, Yi Lai, stateless, and Zha Xika, Laotian, followed a few minutes later.

    The four, along with two other accused, had pleaded guilty to intentional homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping and hijacking at their trial in Kunming last year, state news agency Xinhua said.

    The gang was broken up in early 2012 in a joint operation conducted by police from China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, Xinhua said, "after the brutal murders of Chinese sailors triggered calls to rein in rampant crime in the border region".

    After the execution, the court will hand over their remains, wills and personal belongings to their relatives or relevant consulates, the agency added.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Bodies of 12 murdered Chinese found in the Mekong River in Chiang Saen District

    Burmese militia leader behind Mekong murders executed in China
    By Patrick Boehler Mar 01, 2013 3:29PM UTC


    Naw Kham, the Burmese militia leader sentenced to death in China for piracy and murder, was executed in China’s border province Yunnan on Friday afternoon.

    The 43-year-old ethnic Shan was executed by lethal injection along with three other co-defendants in the provincial capital Kunming, after pleading guilty and being sentenced to death on charges of murder, kidnapping, drug smuggling and ship hijacking on Nov. 6 last year. He retracted his guilty plea after the verdict.

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    Naw Kham pictured during his extradition from Laos to China in May of last year. He was executed today. Pic: AP.

    The sentence was carried out by lethal injection, the Xinhua news agency reported in a microblog post. Yunnan was the first Chinese province to adopt this form of death penalty in 2003. Their remains will be incinerated and handed over to the Burmese consulate in Kunming.

    The execution was preceded by unprecedented television coverage of the trial and the preparations for the executions. National television even showed a live broadcast of the four being escorted from their cells.

    Naw Kham had first appealed for a reprieve of the death penalty, but the Supreme People’s Court of Yunnan province upheld the sentence on Dec. 26. The sentence had been confirmed by the national Supreme People’s Court in Beijing in February, China National Television said, citing the Kunming People’s Intermediate Court in charge of handling procedures.

    Naw Kham and his militia were accused of masterminding the kidnapping and murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River on Oct. 5, 2011, after these allegedly refused to pay protection money. The incident received international media attention.

    The trial in Kunming had been given much publicity in China as it was celebrated as a first trial of a “terrorist” who killed Chinese citizens abroad.

    A 200-man strong investigative team had been set up to find the former member of the Mong Tai Army in Burma’s lawless Shan State. The first ever known use of a drone strike by China was considered by the investigators, according to recent revelations.

    Riparian countries also set up a joint patrol mechanism on the Mekong River, which is still in place under Chinese leadership.

    Naw Kham was eventually captured in April last year when he crossed from Burma into Laos. He was then extradited to China, where he faced a Chinese court with an assigned defence lawyer, who has since stated publicly that she had made no attempt to defend her client’s interests.

    The nationalistic newspaper Global Times compared Naw Kham’s capture with that of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s by US Navy Seals in May 2011, saying it was even more difficult in part because Naw Kham was not executed on the spot, but faced, an albeit questionable, trial.

    He didn’t stand much of a chance in a country where the conviction rate for criminal trials stood at 99.9% in 2010 according to figures by China’s Supreme Court. The world’s most populous country does not publish figures on how many death sentences are carried out.

    The announcement of his execution on Wednesday has caused a stir among Chinese microbloggers with thousands of posts and comments in the first hours, mostly jubilant of China’s final decision on Naw Kham’s fate.

    The execution comes four days ahead of the once in a decade leadership transition in China with the convention of a new session of its rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress.

    ASIAN CORRESPONDENT.COM

    China parades foreign Mekong killers before execution-BBC News


    Last edited by Khun Don; 01-03-13 at 08:16 PM. Reason: Added link

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