Drug lord handed death penalty for killing 13 Chinese sailors
Beijing: A Myanmar drug lord and three of his subordinates were sentenced to death by a court in Southern China for the kidnapping and murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River last year.
Another gang members received a suspended death sentence, while a sixth was sentenced to eight years prison term, according to a verdict handed down by the Intermediate People's Court of Kunming in China's Yunnan province.
The trial finished in September after the gang pleaded guilty to intentional homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping and hijacking.
All six defendants said at the court they would appeal today's verdict.
Drug lord Naw Kham stated to be Myanmar national heading an armed drug gang, was arrested on April 25 at an undisclosed location and has been extradited to China.
He was arrested in a joint operation by China, Laos and Myanmar as part of operations to make Mekong river cruise safe.
Kham's gang reportedly had more than 100 members and was armed with assault rifles, bazookas and machine guns.
They are believed to have engaged in drug trafficking, kidnapping, murder, looting and other crimes along the Mekong River for many years, official Xinhua news agency reported.
Joint police investigation in China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand found that Naw Kham, core members of the gang and a small number of Thai soldiers planned and conducted the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on two cargo ships on October 5 last year.
The incident devastated economic and trade activity on the Mekong River, as cargo traffic plunged by 90 percent after the crime, Chinese officials said cooperation between Chinese and Lao police led to the arrest of Naw Khamon April 25.
Several suspects had previously been arrested by the law enforcement agencies of the four countries, it said.