Still No Progress On Chiang Saen Killings
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Still no Progress on Chiang Saen Killings



A relative collapses as she mourns Chinese sailors killed in an attack on the Mekong river during a memorial service at the riverside of Mekong river in Chiang Saen, Thailand's Chiang Rai province, October 13, 2011


The House committee on foreign affairs yesterday accused the House committee on state security of “jumping to conclusions” over the murder of 13 Chinese sailors in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district on Oct 5.

Pheu Thai Party list MP Sunai Jullapongsathon, who heads the foreign affairs committee that is also probing the deaths, said it was too early for the state security committee led by Karun Hosakul, a Pheu Thai MP for Bangkok, to reach a conclusion on the case after one round of questioning.

On Wednesday, the Karun-led committee questioned several military officials connected with the case for the first time since the discovery of the 13 corpses in the Mekong River.

The military officials told the committee the murders occurred in Burma, that only one body was found on one of two Chinese boats, and that the other 12 corpses had drifted into Thailand.

After the questioning was over, Mr Karun ruled out the possibility that the Thai soldiers who found the corpses had something to do with the murder.

“Of course, both committee are equally reliable, but the state security committee is probably able to think much faster than we can do,” said Mr Sunai.

He said his committee had still not reached a conclusion on the matter as a lot more information was needed.

One hypothesis so far is that the case might have something to do with conflicts among certain state officials, said Mr Sunai. He refused to elaborate on whether he was referring to Thai, Burmese, or Chinese officials.

Mr Sunai also said his committee had information that the Norkham pirate group that operates on the Mekong River may have been behind the murder of the Chinese sailors.

He said he will go to to Chiang Rai next week to gather more information from local authorities and the Chinese consulate there.

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