MEKONG: situation has become worse since Naw Kham’s arrest


A top drug fighter from Naypyitaw recently challenged Beijing’s claim that “frequent occurrence of drug-related crimes on the Mekong River has been effectively contained,” as reported by Xinhua last May.

“In fact, the situation has become worse since Naw Kham’s arrest (on 24 April 2012),” said the official who asked his identity be withheld. “And Naw Kham was but a small link in the drug chain.”

Naw Kham, known as the Mekong godfather, who since 2006 was the boss over the cross-border drug trade in the Golden Triangle area, was executed in Kunming by lethal injection on 1 March. He was convicted on several charges including the killing of 13 Chinese sailors, on the Mekong on 5 October 2011.


A veteran businessman in eastern Shan State supported the drug warrior’s statement. “The only people who are taking a back seat nowadays are those without independent networks of their own,” he explained. “But to those who have their own networks Naw Kham, who was collecting protection on the fruits of their labor, was a great nuisance. The news of his capture was therefore most welcomed by these people.”

The drug fighter also scoffed at the much-vaunted joint 4-nation patrol on the Mekong. “Cooperation? Yes,” he told SHAN. “But joint operation? No.”

A ceremony to mark the opening of the office to control what Xinhua reported as “joint anti-drugs operations” on the Mekong was held in Xixuangbanna, Yunnan Province on 19 April. Myanmar and Thai police have arrested more than 1,100 suspects and seized more than 2.97 tons of drugs announced China’s Ministry of Public Security on 29 May. Continue reading “MEKONG: situation has become worse since Naw Kham’s arrest”