Mar 9, 2013

After the Execution of Naw Kham in China:
Mekong Safety remains an Issue

After the execution of Myanmar Druglord Naw Kham by the Chinese authorities in Kunming the safety for boats travelling on the Mekong River from Yunnan in China to Chiang Saen in Northern Thailand is still an issue: A new drug gang controlled by Jasi Bo has taken over from Naw Kham in leading an armed group active along the river. This has been said by Vichai Chaimongkhon, director of Narcotics Control Office Region 5 in Northern Thailand according to Bangkok Post. The group is said to employ 40 to 50 armed men and to be based about eight kilometres north of Ban Samphu in Myanmar where Naw Kham's gang was based. The group is said to extort protection money from boats sailing up and down the Mekong.

Meanwhile Police from Xishuangbanna in southern China have presented a security cooperation plan to deal with crimes on the Mekong. They plan to establish a centre in Chiang Rai to jointly patrol on the Mekong River with Thai forces.

The drug trade in the Golden Triangle remains a big issue for Chinese authorities, as Global Times reports. In the 1990s it had around 165 000 hectares of opium poppy fields. This shrank to 18 600 hectares in 2006. But since then the drug plantations have been creeping back to 33,000 hectares. Hu Zujun, director of the anti-drug bureau under the Yunnan Provincial Department of Public Security, said, the Konkang area in the Shan State in Myanmar saw "the most severe resurgence". But also new types of drugs are flowing into China. Of the 16 tons of drugs intercepted by Yunnan police last year, methamphetamine accounted for around two thirds of the total, said Hu. "In 2010 Chinese police for the first time seized more methamphetamine than heroin over the course of the year, and over the following years, the share of crystal meth has risen", writes Global Times.

The Shan Human Rights Foundation, based in Chiang Mai (Thailand) has accused police and military authorities in the Shan State of “making money out of the (drug) issues, instead of trying to address them”.

Read more:
The killing of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong: A puzzle about the drug hub in the Golden Triangle with missing pieces
Beijing Flaunts Cross-Border Clout in Search for Drug Lord on
An Open Secret, an Illicit Trade without End
Laotian Anti-Narcotics Agents Seize Boat with 22 Million Metamphetamine Tablets in Golden Triangle