CHIANGRAI TIMES: There is strong evidence to suggest that the weapons were fired from the Thai side to the cargo ships in which 13 crew members were found dead in the Mekong River earlier this month, said Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung.
A background check shows that the victims had no convictions for drug offenses, said Mr Chalerm, who oversees the national police.
Still, distanced the army from the attack, saying the operation was personal and had nothing to do with the military.
Police have filed charges of murder and tampering with evidence against a group of nine army officers, including a commander and a lieutenant for the death of the 13 men. The nine officers reported to Chiang Rai police on Friday.
The victims were members of the crew of two cargo ships of China flag.
Their bodies, tied and handcuffed and had bullet wounds, were recovered from the days of the Mekong, after the attack.
Before the bodies were found, it has been speculated that the crew had been killed by drug traffickers.
A dead body and about 920,000 methamphetamine pills were found on board the body of the nine staff, attached to the Pha Muang Task Force.
The Chinese authorities have asked Thailand to investigate the attack and the suspension of shipping operations in the river.
A senior Chinese official yesterday urged Thailand to compensate the families of the 13 Chinese sailors were killed.
The request was made by Guo Shaochun, deputy head of theDepartment of Consular Affairs, who was informed of the progress of the investigation into the murders of Mr. Chalerm in a hotel in Chiang Saen district.
Mr. Guo yesterday expressed gratitude for the prompt investigation and called on Thailand to begin to consider compensation for the families of the victims.
He said that families take action once the details of the attack unfold.
Mr Chalerm said he has appointed a team of senior police officer to take charge of the case. The probe is in charge of police chief Pol Gen of Priewpan Damapong with Deputy police chief Pol Gen Singhara na Ayudhya Phanupong as a researcher in chief and deputy police chief Pol Gen Pansiri Prapawat in charge of interrogations.
Mr Chalerm said the attack had received much attention in China and the country has taken a special interest in that by sending their own authorities to join the investigation.
Two senior police officers have gone to China to inform the authorities of the events there.
Chiangrai Times – Anna Wong