CDT previously reported on the murder of Chinese sailors on the Mekong River and on the following investigation. Chinese state media reports the principal suspect and three others in the attack have been sentenced to death, from Xinhua:
A Chinese court on Tuesday sentenced Naw Kham, a drug lord from Myanmar, and three of his subordinates to death for the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River last year.
The six suspects, comprised of five people from Myanmar, Thailand and Laos and one stateless suspect, faced charges of intentional homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping and hijacking or a combination of those criminal offenses. The suspects were ordered by the court to pay compensations totalling six million yuan (about 960,000 U.S. dollars).
All six defendants said they will appeal Tuesday’s verdict.
Naw Kham and his gang members were found to have 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, the court said in an investigative report.
While four of the suspects were given the death sentence, another suspect was given a suspended death sentence, and one suspect was sentenced to eight years in prison, from AP:
Nine Thai soldiers who are accused of taking part in the killings previously surrendered but have not been tried or extradited. They remain in Thai military custody and are suspected of murder and concealing evidence, Deputy National Police Chief Police Gen. Pansiri Prapawat said Tuesday.
Sailors shipping Chinese produce and manufactured goods down the Mekong have long complained of armed gangs that loot their boats or demand cash. Little action was taken to protect them until the Oct. 5, 2011, attack near the Thai-Myanmar border, which sparked Chinese demands for a thorough investigation.
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