Four foreign men were executed in China Friday for the killing of 13 Chinese fishermen on the Mekong River in 2011, state media reported.
Myanmar drug lord Naw Kham and three of his accomplices, Hsang Kham from Thailand, Yi Lai, stateless, and Zha Xika from Laos, were executed by lethal injection in the city of Kunming in southwest China's Yunnan Province, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Intermediate People's Court of Kunming.
The convicts were part of a group that ambushed two Chinese cargo ships, the Hua Ping and the Yu Xing, in October 2011 and killed 13 crew members.
Naw Kham was the ring leader of a large drug trafficking outfit based in the Golden Triangle—a drug-producing mountainous region in Southeast Asia covering areas of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, according to the Xinhua report.
The group was arrested in Myanmar and brought to China in May last.
In November, they were found guilty of intentional homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping and hijacking. Two other members of the gang escaped execution with one receiving a death sentence with reprieve and the other sentenced to eight years in prison.
Those who were executed were given an opportunity to meet their close relatives Thursday.
The convicts were shown on live TV being transported to their place of execution.
Naw Kham was dressed in a beige cardigan and grey trousers and was seen smiling slightly as he was marched, handcuffed, towards the reception of the prison in Kunming, the South China Morning Post reported. His fellow inmates followed a few minutes later.
Several social media users in China expressed contempt for parading the convicts in front of television cameras, the SCMP report added.
The Global Times newspaper reported in mid-February that Chinese authorities had considered sending an attack drone into Myanmar's air space during the manhunt for Naw Kham. However, the plan to bomb the foreign land was not put into action since Chinese authorities were keen on arresting him alive, the report said quoting Liu Yuejin, director of China’s public security ministry’s anti-drug bureau.
Li Zhuqun, a senior international co-operation official at the ministry, said the gang had now been broken up, but “efforts to ensure the safety of the Mekong River will continue.”
"We will continue patrols and law enforcement co-operation with [Burma, Laos and Thailand] to safeguard shipping on the river," he told the China Daily.
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