Thai police going to China for probe of 13 dead Chinese Mekong crew case

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BANGKOK, May 11 – A team of Thai police willing May 17-24 for a joint police investigation of the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River on Oct 5 last year.

Deputy National Police Chief Pol Gen Pansiri Prapawat said that some Thai officials might have been involved with the murder, according to Thai developments on the case.

Official agencies having a stake in the case, including experts from the Office of The Attorney General and a medical team have been invited for the investigation.

Gen Pansiri said the case is currently being reviewed before the trip. According to the Thai police, around 7-8 men wearing black went up to the two cargo ships while there was the murder, and drugs worth over Bt920,000 was found.

However, he said, more investigation would be needed to settle the facts.

China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand had successfully acted together to apprehend ‘Naw Kham’, the head of an armed drug gang, on April 25 as well as some of the gang’s core members. Naw Kham was suspected of planning the victims’ murder and was sent from Lao to Beijing on a chartered aircraft, according to China’s Public Security Ministry.

The ministry noted in a statement that the gang has more than 100 members were believed to have been carried out 28 robberies and gun-related crimes targeting Chinese vessels and citizens since 2008, causing 16 deaths and three injuries. They were also believed involved with murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking, and looting and other crimes along the Mekong River.

The statement said the Oct 5 tragic incident virtually ended trade along the river, as cargo traffic dropped by 90 per cent after the crime.

China’s Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday that Chinese Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu that Naw Kham’s apprehension marked the successful application of cooperation in law enforcement along the Mekong River, a mechanism agreed by high-ranking officials from China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand who met in Beijing last year to collaborate in cracking down on cross-border crimes to secure transportation along the Mekong.