PM mulls 'Operation Mekong' ban

PM mulls 'Operation Mekong' ban

A Hong Kong-Chinese action film re-enacting the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River in 2011 by a notorious Myanmar drug kingpin will be banned from being screened in Thailand if it is found to "damage" the country, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said Tuesday.

"I have ordered authorities to check the content of Operation Mekong. If it is damaging, it will be banned," Gen Prayut said.

The film, directed by Dante Lam and due to open on Friday in Hong Kong, concerns the massacre in the Golden Triangle area of the river on Oct 5, 2011 when 13 Chinese crew members from two cargo ships were brutally killed by a Myanmar drug-trafficking ring.

In real life: All 13 crewmen of these two Chinese river tramps were tied, killed and dumped in the Mekong River near Chiang Saen in October, 2011. The drug lord Naw Kham, later abducted by China and executed, was the mastermind, but the murders were allegedly carried out by nine rogue members of an elite Thai army anti-drug force. (File photo by Chinnaphat Chaimol)

Their bodies were found blindfolded, handcuffed and dumped in the river off Chiang Saen district town, Chiang Rai province.

With the help of Thai and Lao authorities, Chinese police brought the prime suspect from Myanmar, Naw Kham, to justice, along with his accomplices.

Naw Kham, an alleged drug kingpin in the Golden Triangle, and his gang were found guilty of attacking the two Chinese cargo ships in collusion with Thai soldiers in the Chiang Rai section of the river, after kidnapping other Chinese sailors and holding their ships for ransom earlier the same year, the court said.

During his trial, Naw Kham blamed Thai soldiers for the murders. He later pleaded guilty to the charges, before changing his plea again at the appeal hearing, Chinese state media reports said.

He was executed in March 2013 in China along with three accomplices, including a Thai national, for murder.

The executions were carried out by lethal injection by a court in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province.

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