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Drug gang killers on Mekong set to be executed

By Xu Wei in Kunming, Yunnan (China Daily)

09:25, March 01, 2013

Naw Kham (right) at a Yunnan court on Sept 21. The Myanmar drug lord and his three accomplices will be executed on Friday afternoon in Kunming. (Wang Shen / Xinhua)

Naw Kham, the Myanmar drug lord convicted of murdering 13 Chinese sailors in 2011, will be executed on Friday.

Along with three accomplices, he will be executed by lethal injection in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, the Intermediate People's Court announced late on Wednesday.

The accomplices were identified as Hsang Kham from Thailand, Yi Lai, stateless, and Zha Xika, from Laos.

The executions were approved by the top court and handed down to Kunming on Feb 22. The four men were informed of the sentences, and the consulates of Thailand and Myanmar in Kunming were notified on Feb 24, the court said.

Bringing the gang to justice involved police work in four countries - China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.

The gang was found guilty of masterminding and colluding with Thai soldiers in an attack on two Chinese cargo ships on the Mekong River on Oct 5, 2011.

"Our efforts to ensure the safety of the Mekong River will continue," Li Zhuqun, deputy director of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Public Security, told China Daily. "We will continue patrols and law enforcement cooperation with the other three countries to safeguard shipping on the river."

The menace posed by this particular gang may be over, but the Mekong waterway still needs to be protected, he said.

The 100-strong gang was involved in drug trafficking, kidnap and murder along the Mekong. Since 2008, they launched 28 attacks against Chinese cargo ships on the river, killing 16 Chinese citizens and injuring three, according to police.

On Oct 5, 2011, 13 Chinese sailors were murdered and their bodies thrown into the Mekong after two Chinese cargo ships, the Hua Ping and Yu Xing 8 were hijacked.

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