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Patrols put dent in Mekong River attacks

By Zhang Yan and Xin Dingding (China Daily)

10:00, March 13, 2012

Attacks along the Mekong River after shipping resumed on Dec 10 are occasional and isolated cases, said a senior officer from Southwest China's Yunnan provincial public security department.

Shipping was suspended after 13 Chinese sailors were killed along the river in October.

"We are seeking a variety of modes of cooperation, such as joint patrols, armed escorts, intelligence gathering and sharing with the other three countries, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, to boost the safeguarding of shipping on the river," said Meng Sutie, director of the Yunnan provincial public security department.

The four countries have also taken the initiative in attacking armed factions and drug gangs that have been targeting Chinese cargo ships in the Mekong River's Golden Triangle region, Meng told China Daily on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress.

The Mekong River is surrounded by high mountains and dense forests, and in some areas the watersheds are complex and turbulent, said Dai Peng, director of the criminal investigation department under the Chinese People's Public Security University.

"Some armed criminals have taken this chance to hide themselves and launch sudden attacks on Chinese cargo ships using motorboats," Dai said.

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