China deploys patrol boats on Mekong: Report

Last Updated: Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 14:12

Beijing: China has deployed more than 300
armed police to patrol the Mekong river in boats in collaboration with Myanmar, Thailand and Laos after a deadly attack in October, state-run media has said.

Two months ago, 13 Chinese sailors were killed on a
section of the river south of China`s border, raising concerns
in Beijing for the safety of crews and cargoes sailing south
through an area rife with drug warfare and smuggling.

Citing officials, the official China Daily newspaper said that Chinese police would escort 10 private cargo ships, including the boats that were attacked on October 5 by what is thought to have been a drug gang.
"The special force will serve as the first joint-patrol law enforcement team of the national border
defense department, committed to safeguarding the
international waterway," said public security deputy minister
Meng Hongwei.

The Mekong flows through China`s southwestern province
of Yunnan into Southeast Asia, serving as a major trade route
through several countries including Cambodia and Vietnam.

China reacted angrily to the October attack, sending
patrol boats down the Mekong to retrieve 164 stranded Chinese
sailors and 28 cargo ships and calling on diplomats from
Thailand, Laos and Myanmar to speed up investigations.

Since then, police in Thailand have detained nine
soldiers who are suspected of killing the Chinese sailors and
are also thought to have links with a Myanmar drug kingpin.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 14:12

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