BANGKOK, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- A total of 13 Chinese sailors, who were on two ships hijacked by drug traffickers last week, were confirmed dead after investigators found another body on Mekong River in north Thailand's Chiang Rai Province, local authorities told Xinhua on Monday.
Searchers found the body in nearby Chiang Khong District early on Monday, said Seramsak Seesan, chief of Chiang Rai's Chiang Saen District, where the other bodies were found. The two hijacked Chinese-flagged ships reportedly had 13 crew members.
Investigators suspect a drug ring of Tai Yai ethnic group led by No Kham was responsible for the incident, Seesan told Xinhua in a telephone interview.
Autopsies are being conducted in Chiang Saen Hospital. Relatives of the sailors will arrive on a later date to cooperate in investigation and claim the bodies, he said.
This was the first time a commercial ship was hijacked by drug traffickers, Seesan added.
A committee of police, military and local authorities are further investigating the case, he said.
Last Wednesday, Thai border troops seized drugs on board two Chinese-flagged ships coded Yi Xing 8 Hao and Hua Ping, after a gunfight of more than 30 minutes with drug traffickers, in Chiang Saen District, bordering Myanmar. One drug trafficker was reported to have been killed.
The police found bodies of Chinese sailors late last week. Three bodies, with hands tied and handcuffed behind their backs, were found on Friday. Another nine bodies were found on Saturday.
The bodies were identified as the crew of Yi Xing 8 Hao and Hua Ping. The police suspect drug traffickers had planned to use the hijacked ships to smuggle drugs into Thailand and the sailors were killed before the gunfire on Wednesday.
China's consulate general in Thailand says investigation under way for raids on Chinese ships
BANGKOK, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Thai police has launched an investigation and were hunting for the attackers on two Chinese cargo ships five days ago that left 11 Chinese dead and two missing, an official at China's consulate general in Chiang Mai said Sunday.
China's consulate general in this northern Thailand province has been dealing with this incident, the official added. Full story