13 killed in attacks on cargo ships

China suspended shipping through South-east Asia's Golden Triangle yesterday after attacks on two Chinese cargo vessels on the Mekong River left 13 crew members dead.

Most of the victims had been bound, blindfolded and shot. The Bangkok Post reported that after a gun battle with the hijackers, Thai authorities seized both boats.

The Golden Triangle region, where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet, is notorious for the heroin trade. Thai authorities blame a drugs gang that demands protection money from ships it hijacks on the Mekong and kills crew members who refuse to co-operate. AP