(Mizzima) – A Burmese drug lord connected to the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River last year has been transferred to China, Laotian police said on Thursday. Earlier reports said Naw Kham, who was arrested by Laotian authorities, was sent to China shortly after his arrest on April 25.
Naw Kham, head of an armed drug gang that roamed freely through the Golden Triangle area, was sent to China on a chartered plane dispatched by Chinese authorities, the Xinhua news agency said.
Liu Yuejin, the director of the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, said that China, Laos, Burma and Thailand worked together to fight transnational crime and succeeded in capturing Naw Kham and the gang's core members.
The Naw Kham gang had more than 100 members armed with AK assault rifles, M16 rifles, bazookas and machine guns, said Xinhua. They are believed to have been engaged in drug trafficking, kidnapping, murder, looting and other crimes along the Mekong River for many years. Naw Kham was reportedly arrested near the home of his girlfriend in Laos. A significant number of his gang have turned themselves over to Burmese authorities in the Tachilek area, according to media reports.
Naw Kham was thrust into the news shortly following the murder of Chinese sailors on October 5, 20ll, after two cargo ships, the Hua Ping and Yu Xing 8, were attacked and hijacked by a group of armed men on the Mekong River.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said that China and Thailand maintained close communications and cooperation in handling the incident, and in joint patrols of the isolated the river. A number of Thai soldiers were also implicated in the deaths.