A Thai court might acquit Golden Triangle Godfather Naw Kham if he had been tried in Thailand and not in China, according to a lawyer in Chiangmai.
Comparing Naw Kham, who is awaiting court decision in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, with a multi-murder suspect in Thailand whose story has captured the headlines for weeks, the lawyer, who asked not to be named, said:
- The victims (of the said suspect in Thailand) were found in land owned by the suspect
- Bullets were found in the victims’ remains
- The suspect has a number of (unlicensed) firearms in his possession
- The victims’ automobile was found in his land
- There are witnesses to the alleged killings
“By contrast,” he said, “the Mekong, where the 13 Chinese sailors were killed, does not belong to Naw Kham. Those who had been witnesses to his masterminding the killings were also the co-accused (who could be deemed as doing what they could to seek official pardon). And I have not heard weapons used in the killings had been produced as evidence during the trial. Had he been tried in a Thai court, these are not sufficient to convict him.”
He however admitted he knew very little about Chinese laws. “But members of his family should do what they can to help him,” he suggested. “They should hire a lawyer, if possible a Chinese lawyer, to find if he could get a lighter sentence.”
Naw Kham, who, from 2006 to until his capture in Laos in April, had been running a protection racket in the Golden Triangle, where Laos, Burma and Thailand meet. He has been charged of the killing of 13 Chinese sailors on 5 October 2011. 9 Thai military officers have also been accused of involvement in the murders.
Naw Kham and 5 of his aides went on trial on 20-21 September in Kunming. He has denied he had a hand in the killings. Sentencing, according to Xinhua, is to take place following review by a collegiate bench.