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Mekong river patrol: China, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar

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Boat hijacking by Shan drug gang may be behind killing of 13 Chinese crew last year. Tighter security & joint patrol is the response.

Mekong river patrol

In photo above a patrol boat sails along the Mekong River in Chiang Rai in a bid to stamp out illegal activities on the waterway (Photo: Wassana Nanuam). Map below shows how the Mekong River passes through many countries (Source: Wikipedia).

Click button to listen to Mekong River Patrol to download

Security
MEKONG

Navy to step up patrols after Chinese slayings

Wassana Nanuam

Mekong river mapCHIANG RAI : The navy will reinforce its patrols along the Mekong River to help the four-nation effort in policing this transnational river, following the slaying of 13 Chinese sailors last year.

"I'm considering increasing boat and troop numbers because we have many tasks to do," navy chief Surasak Roonroengrom said.

His plan to strengthen the navy's Me Khong Riverine Operation Unit is necessary because its task in Chiang Rai is hindered by a limited number of military personnel and supplies.

The operation unit employs only 11 boats in total - three patrol vessels and eight assault vessels - to serve only about 200 soldiers

"But there have been more seizures of illegal items, crashes and losses" during operations in the Mekong River, he said. 

The latest loss, which has alerted Thailand, China, Laos and Myanmar to violent crimes on the river, is the mysterious killing of 13 crew members on two Chinese-flagged cargo boats, the Yi Xing 8 Hao and Hua Ping, on Oct 5 last year in Chiang Rai's Chiang Saen district.

Nine Thai soldiers of the Pa Muang Task Force, who reportedly seized 920,000 speed pills from the two barges, have been implicated in the murders. Inquiries are continuing.

They blamed a Shan drug trafficking gang, led by Nor Kham, for hijacking the boats and using them for smuggling the drugs into Thailand.

The group is believed to have 20 to 100 armed members and has been active along a 150km stretch of the river, Sorracha Sornprathum, chief of the Me Khong Riverine Operation Unit said.

Following the murders, the four countries joined forces to set up a patrol unit, made up of three Chinese boats and one boat each from Laos, Myanmar and the Thai Marine Police Division, to tighten security along the Mekong.

The multi-nation unit is responsible for areas from Sipsongpanna in China's southern Yunnan province, to the Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet.

The navy's Me Khong Riverine Operation Unit will back up the joint patrol by watching out for illegal activities on the river within Thai territory.

Smuggling of drugs, Siamese rosewood and contraband along the Mekong and the Thai-Lao borders is increasing, said R Adm Sorracha, whose unit oversees the 917km section of the river that passes Chiang Rai, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom and Ubon Ratchathani.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Security, MEKONG, Navy to step up patrols after Chinese slayings, 9/02/2012, Wassana Nanuam, link

Mekong River - "a river in Southeast Asia that is the world's 10th-longest river and the 7th-longest in Asia. Its estimated length is 4,909 km... The river is a major trading route linking China’s southwestern province of Yunnan to the South China Sea via Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, and provides local's with an invaluable outlet to the sea and international trading" (See Wikipedia)

patrol - when police or soldiers move around an area, checking to make sure there are no problems there (prevent problems, crime, watch for enemy) ตรวจการ เดินยาม เฝ้ายาม ลาดตระเวน
step up patrols - increase patrols

Navy to step up patrols after Chinese slayings

patrol boat - a boat that patrols an area of water (river, coast, lake, etc)

bid - an attempt to do something ความพยายา
stamp out - end some bad activity
waterway - a water road; a place with water that boats can travel along such as a river, a canal, etc 

bid to stamp out illegal activities on the waterway

reinforce - make stronger; to make a group of police or soldiers stronger by adding more people or equipment to it เสริมกำลัีงทหาร เสริมกำลังเจ้าหน้าที่
reinforcements (noun)

effort - an attempt to do something;  the energy and enthusiasm that people put into an activity ความพยายาม
four-nation effort

transnational - involving more than one country; present in more than one country ข้ามชาติ
transnational river

the four-nation effort in policing this transnational river

slaying - a killing; a murder การสังหาร, ฆาตกรรม

The navy will reinforce its patrols along the Mekong River to help the four-nation effort in policing this transnational river, following the slaying of 13 Chinese sailors last year.

task - a piece of work that someone does; something that you have to do หน้าที่; ภารกิจ

I'm considering increasing boat and troop numbers because we have many tasks to do

hindered

personnel - people who work for a company or organisation
military personnel

His plan to strengthen the navy's Me Khong Riverine Operation Unit is necessary because its task in Chiang Rai is hindered by a limited number of military personnel and supplies.

vessels
- ships เรือขนาดใหญ่
assault - an attack by the armed forces การจู่โจม การทำร้ายด้วยอาวุธ
assault vessels - boats used to attack
patrol vessels - boats used to patrol

The operation unit employs only 11 boats in total - three patrol vessels and eight assault vessels - to serve only about 200 soldiers

seizure - taking by force
illegal - against the law ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
seizures of illegal items

But there have been more seizures of illegal items, crashes and losses during operations in the Mekong River

alerted - show, tell indicate to people, police, army, that something bad is or might be happening

violent - involving the use of physical force, with the intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people รุนแรง
violent crimes

mysterious - not explained or understood; full of secrets ลึกลับ, น่าพิศวง, น่าประหลาด
mysterious killing

crew - the people who work on a ship, aircraft, etc. ลูกเรือ
crew members - same as "crew"

cargo - goods carried in a truck, plane, or train สินคา้ที่บรรจุในตู้สินค้า ขนส่งทางรถหรือรถไฟ (ในภาษาไทย บางครั้งเรียก ตู้คอนเทนเนอร์)
Chinese-flagged cargo boats

The latest loss, which has alerted Thailand, China, Laos and Myanmar to violent crimes on the river, is the mysterious killing of 13 crew members on two Chinese-flagged cargo boats, the Yi Xing 8 Hao and Hua Ping, on Oct 5 last year in Chiang Rai's Chiang Saen district.

implicate - to show that someone was involved in some crime or bad activity
implicated in the murders - it appears that the people were involved in the murders (evidence shows involvement)

barge - a long flat boat used on rivers and canals (See Wikipedia)

inquiry - an official examination and investigation into the causes of a crime, accident or other problem
inquiries are continuing

Nine Thai soldiers of the Pa Muang Task Force, who reportedly seized 920,000 speed pills from the two barges, have been implicated in the murders. Inquiries are continuing.

Shan - a large of group people speaking a Tai language (Shan) related to the Thai language and living mostly in the Shan State of Burma (Myanmar)... Though no reliable census has been taken in Burma since 1935, the Shan are estimated to number approximately 6 million.
The capital of Shan State is Taunggyi, a small city of about 150,000 people. Other major cities include Thibaw (Hsipaw), Lashio, Kengtung and Tachileik" (See Wikipedia)

drug trafficking - the illegal business of transporting and selling illegal drugs (See Wikipedia)
drug trafficking gang
Shan drug trafficking gang

hijack -
to illegally take control of a vehicle (airplane, boat, truck) using threats or violence (See Wikipedia)
hijacking boats


smuggle
- secretly and illegally taking goods or people into or out of a country ลักลอบขนสินค้าหรือคนเข้าและออกจากประเทศอย่างผิดกฎหมาย
smuggle drugs
smuggling
drugs into Thailand.

They blamed a Shan drug trafficking gang, led by Nor Kham, for hijacking the boats and using them for smuggling the drugs into Thailand.

armed - carrying weapons such as guns ติดอาวุธ
active - working, operating, doing some work or job
gang active along a stretch of the river

stretch - 1. a continuous area of land or water; 2. a straight part of a journey ช่วงที่ขบวนพระราชรถมาตั้งแถวขยายขบวนเป็นแนวยาวบนท้องสนามหลวง; 3. to cause something to reach, often as far as possible, in a particular direction ขยายออก, ยืดออก
stretch of river

The group is believed to have 20 to 100 armed members and has been active along a 150km stretch of the river, Sorracha Sornprathum, chief of the Me Khong Riverine Operation Unit said.

security - the activity of making safe and protecting from attack, harm or damage
tighten security - increase security (increase the number of guards, soldiers or patrols in an area)

Following the murders, the four countries joined forces to set up a patrol unit, made up of three Chinese boats and one boat each from Laos, Myanmar and the Thai Marine Police Division, to tighten security along the Mekong.

Sipsongpanna - the southern Yunnan homeland of the Tai Lue people, many of whom live in the Maesai and Chiang Saen area, the mother of King Mangrai (1296-1317) was from Sipsongpanna  (See Wikipedia)

The multi-nation unit is responsible for areas from Sipsongpanna in China's southern Yunnan province, to the Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet.

joint - do some activity or project together; belonging to or shared between two or more people ที่ร่วมกัน, ความร่วมมือกัน ร่วม, ที่ร่วมกัน
joint patrol - when two groups join to do a patrol

territory - land which is considered as belonging to or connected with a particular country or person ดินแดน อาณาบริเวณ อาณาเขตประเทศ
Thai territory

The navy's Me Khong Riverine Operation Unit will back up the joint patrol by watching out for illegal activities on the river within Thai territory.

contraband - goods taken into or out of a country illegally

Smuggling of drugs, Siamese rosewood and contraband along the Mekong and the Thai-Lao borders is increasing, said R Adm Sorracha, whose unit oversees the 917km section of the river that passes Chiang Rai, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom and Ubon Ratchathani.

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