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Thai police interrogate principal suspect in Mekong River murders

KUNMING, Aug. 8 — Sources with China's Ministry of Public Security said Tuesday that Thai police have interrogated a drug lord in China who is suspected of masterminding the murders of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River last year.

Naw Kham, the head of an armed drug gang believed to be associated with the bandits who killed the Chinese sailors on Oct. 5 last year, was arrested on April 25 at an undisclosed location in Laos and was then extradited to China for investigation and a court trial on May 10.

Chinese police said a joint police investigation in China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand found evidence that Naw Kham, some core members of the gang and a small number of Thai soldiers planned and conducted the murders.

In a July visit to Thailand, Chinese Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu invited Thai authorities to cooperate with Chinese police to promptly facilitate putting the suspects on trial.

Following the meeting, the ministry dispatched a work team to Thailand from July 19 to 23 to discuss the murders and exchange evidence with the Thai police force.

According to the ministry, Naw Kham's armed gang on the Mekong River is believed to be behind 28 robberies and gun-related crimes directed at Chinese vessels and citizens since 2008. These crimes have resulted in 16 deaths and three injuries.

Senior cabinet members from the four countries met in Beijing on Oct. 31 last year and agreed to take joint action to crack down on cross-border crime and secure transportation along the Mekong River.

Under the framework of the "Law Enforcement Cooperation along the Mekong River Mechanism," the four countries have created new channels for intelligence exchanges, patrolling and law enforcement, as well as channels for tackling incidents that disrupt public order, combating transnational crimes and dealing with emergency events. (PNA/Xinhua)

LOR/jsd

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