Chinese Court Rejects Burmese Drug Lord's Final Appeal

By Echo Hui 26 December 2012

A court in China’s Yunnan Province has upheld the conviction of Burmese drug lord Naw Kham and five other defendants who were found guilty in September of murdering 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River late last year.

The decision, reached by the Higher People’s Court in the state capital Kunming on Wednesday, means that a death sentence handed down against Naw Kham and three of his co-defendants will now be reviewed by the China Supreme People’s Court as part of a routine procedure.

The court also ordered the convicted killers to pay a total of six million yuan (US $960,000) in compensation to the victims’ families, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.

Last Thursday, the court heard Naw Kham deny the charges of killing the 13 sailors, who were brutally murdered while patrolling the Golden Triangle region of the Mekong River on Oct. 5, 2011. He also denied being the leader of the criminal gang that carried out the attack.

At an earlier hearing on Sept. 21, Naw Kham and three of his subordinates pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping, drug smuggling and ship hijacking and were sentenced to death.

One other defendant received a death sentence suspended for two years, which in most cases in commuted to life imprisonment. Another was sentenced to eight years in prison.

All six defendants appealed their sentences.