Convicts paraded on television ahead of execution

China’s state TV captures the moments before four men who murdered 13 fishermen are put to death

Beijing

Four men were paraded in ropes and chains on Chinese state television today before being taken away and executed for the murder of 13 Chinese fishermen on the Mekong river two years ago.

The broadcast sparked outrage on China’s social networking sites, with many condemning the footage as an affront that rekindled memories of the execution rallies that used to held in China in Communist times. The broadcaster, CCTV, later announced the men’s execution on Twitter.

One of the men, Naw Kham, was a powerful Burmese drug lord known as “The Godfather” who operated in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, Laos and Burma. The others executed by lethal injection were Hsang Kham from Thailand, Yi Lai, who was stateless, and Zha Xika from Laos, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The men were put to death in Kunming, Yunnan province, and CCTV News showed live footage of the men being taken to the execution site, although it stopped short of showing the actual executions. This is the first time in many years that such footage has been shown on Chinese TV.

“I couldn’t sleep properly over the last two days. I miss my mother. It is really painful that I can’t be with my children,” Mr Kham told CCTV. “My mum didn’t know when I was arrested, and I am worrying that she won’t be able to take it when she finds out.”

Mr Kham and his gang planned and colluded with Thai soldiers in an attack on two Chinese flat-bottomed cargo ships, the Hua Ping and Yu Xing 8, in October 2011 on the upper reaches of the Mekong. Thirteen Chinese sailors died in the attack.

The murder was one of the deadliest assaults on Chinese nationals overseas in modern times and Beijing sent gunboat patrols to the region.

The Mekong provides a vital trade and transportation route between south-western China and South-east Asia, for both legitimate and illegal goods. That stretch of the river is home to many gangs who oversee the production and distribution of heroin and methamphetamine.

Beijing had considered using a drone strike to kill Mr Kham, but instead he was captured in Laos and brought to China in May to stand trial. “Given the current situation, since the downfall of Naw Kham’s gang, the security of Mekong waters has been fine,” Wu Ruzhen, liaison officer to Burma from China’s Ministry of Public Security, told Xinhua.

The ships were later recovered downriver by Thai police following a dramatic shootout with gangsters. Some of the 13 victims had been tied up before being shot or stabbed. The gang members later told the court that the men had been killed because the ship’s owners had refused to pay protection money, and the vessels were used by Thai and Laotian soldiers to attack local drug bases.

Another two members of the gang, identified as Zha Bo and Zha Tuobo, received a death sentence with reprieve and eight years in prison, respectively.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a friendly, confident i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Primary Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: At Tradewind Recruitment we are currently l...

Tradewind Recruitment: Physics Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind Recruitment is currently working ...

Recruitment Genius: Case Manager - Occupational Therapist / Physiotherapist

£28000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee