Pilots of Chinese-flagged barges, on which 13 sailors were killed, must be found as they are suspected of steering the hijacked boats into Thai territory, a House panel says.
A new theory, which was raised after a visit of the committee on national security to Chiang Rai, suggests the murders might have occurred outside Thailand before the boats entered the area patrolled by Thai soldiers who claimed they seized 920,000 speed pills from the two cargo boats.
Speaking about his observations, committee advisor Jeaming Totayong said he suspected there had to be someone steering the boats after they were attacked because the boats ran against the river current into Thailand. However, during talks with local officials assigned to look into the deaths, the committee “did not get a clear explanation” about the boat pilots, said Mr Jeaming, a Democrat MP for Narathiwat.
Mr Jeaming also referred to “men in black” in an influential group active near the murder scene, located on a section of the Mekong north of Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district.
“They often extort money from cargo boats and once opened fire at Chinese sailors and Thai officers,” he said, referring to recently obtained information.
The murder of 13 crew members of the Hua Ping and Yu Xing 8 Hao on Oct 5 remains shrouded in mystery.