|The families of the 13 dead Chinese sailors have been demanding that their killers be brought to justice [Reuters]|
Authorities in Thailand have detained nine Thai soldiers on suspicion surrounding the deaths of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong river earlier this month.
Lieutenant General Wut Liptapanlop told the AFP news agency, the soldiers, thought to be linked to a Myanmar drug kingpin, surrendered on Friday in the Northern Chiang Rai province.
Liptapanlop declined requests for further details citing the ongoing investigation.
A full investigation into the October 5 deadly raid of two Chinese vessles has been promised by Priewpan Damapong, the Thai national police chief.
“Their actions have nothing to do with the Thai army.” said Damapong.
China’s vice minister of public security, Zhang Xinfeng, has said the Thai soldiers were acting on the order of local tycoons and that the killings were not as a result of Thai government or military commands.
Zhang Xinfeng also said “a Chinese expert team on criminal investigation and forensic science will stay on to assist Thai police.”
The victims who were aboard the two cargo ships were hijacked and shot dead by unidentified gunmen earlier this month.
The bodies were later found in the Mekong in northern Thailand.