Bullet holes in a boat that was captured by Mekong drug traffickers.
13 Chinese sailors were found dead in the Mekong river in northern Thailand over the weekend, who composed the crew of two Chinese cargo boats, the Huaping (华平) and the Yuxing No.8 (玉兴8号) captured by local drug traffickers on Wednesday. Most of the victims had been shot, and were found blindfolded with their hands bound. Two female cooks were also part of the crew.
Authorities in Chiang Rai province found the traffickers and the boats they seized, engaging in a gun battle with the hijackers. 100 million baht (20.6 million RMB) worth of speed pills were found on board the ships, along with garlic and apples. Breakfast of Thai drug trafficking champions!
The captured gang reportedly operated as a river-based racketeering crew of goodfellas,
demanding protection money from ships it hijacks along the Mekong and killing crews who refuse to cough up the baht. Seized ships are then turned into drug-smuggling vessels that go along the Mekong from Thailand to Burma.
The Chinese foreign ministry has meanwhile asked all Chinese boats in the Mekong to halt their operations, ordering sailors to return to China through overland routes. 116 of the 130 international ships currently working the Mekong are operated by Chinese companies.
Drug-smuggling pirates along the Mekong? Someone could make a pretty decent get-the-bad-guys propaganda-action film about this whole phenomenon. Or at least a meditative work about the duality of man and the thin line between good and evil, something like that.
For images from the story, you can click here (be warned: they aren’t easy to stomach).