Asia-Pacific

Thai soldiers detained over Mekong River killings

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Nine Thai soldiers have been detained following a deadly attack on two cargo ships on the Mekong river near the Thai-Burma border.

Thirteen Chinese crew members died in the attack, which happened in early October, in an area notorious for drug production and smuggling. Their bodies were found floating in the river.

A police spokesman in Thailand said the soldiers had surrendered on Friday.

The Thai troops were working for an anti-drug task force.

According to media reports, some of the dead crew members had been bound and gagged, others had been blindfolded with tape and some had been shot.

"Police will prosecute all nine soldiers," National police chief General Priewpan Damapong told reporters, according to Agence France Presse.

"Their actions have nothing to do with the Thai army."

The soldiers handed themselves over in Thailand's northern Chiang Rai province.

China's Vice Minister of Public Security, Zhang Xinfeng, is currently visiting Thailand to investigate the attack.

He said the arrests represented "important progress", according to Xinhua.

China also sent patrol boats down the Mekong to escort 164 stranded Chinese sailors and 28 cargo ships back home.

The "Golden Triangle" - where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet - is a region notorious for drug smuggling.

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