China tries alleged drug lord over Mekong killings

national September 20, 2012 00:00

By Deutsche Presse Agentur

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Beijing - A Chinese court on Thursday tried alleged GoldenTriangle drug lord Nor Kham and five accomplices over the killing of13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong river in October.



Prosecutors in the south-western city of Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, charged all six defendants with murder, drugtrafficking, kidnapping and hijacking ships, state media reported.

Myanmar citizen Nor Kham, 44, was extradited from Laos to China in May following joint operations by police from Thailand, Laos and China.
 
The other five defendants were all foreigners, the official Xinhuanews agency said without giving their nationality. The agency quoted Dong Lin, the court's vice president, as saying before the trial that it was "uncommon in China's judicial practice for foreigners who commit crimes against Chinese nationals outside China to be brought to justice before a Chinese court."
It said relatives of the 13 Chinese victims and embassy personnel from the "related countries" attended Thursday's trial.
 
Xian Yanming, Yunnan's deputy police chief, told the China Daily newspaper earlier that Nor Kham's gang had "colluded with renegade Thai soldiers in premeditated attacks on Chinese ships."   They wanted to "make it appear that the (Thai) authorities had uncovered a major drug-related case" by planting drugs on the ships and pretending that the Chinese sailors were drug traffickers who died in a shoot-out, Xian said