Mekong nations take on Golden Triangle narco-empire

By Andrew R.C. Marshall   March 20, 2016 | 03:26 pm GMT+7

Mekong nations take on Golden Triangle narco-empire

A Thai soldier stands guard at Ban Kaen Kai operation base on the Mekong river at the border between Thailand and Laos March 3, 2016. Patrols on the Mekong River by the Laotian army and Myanmar police have subdued pirates who once robbed cargo ships with impunity. But drug production and trafficking in the region, known as the Golden Triangle, is booming – despite the presence of Chinese gunboats and Chinese armed police. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that Southeast Asia’s trade in heroin and methamphetamine was worth $31 billion in 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

“Golden Triangle” is source of most of drugs reaching China

THE MEKONG RIVER – The Lao People’s Army patrol boat was custom-made in China with night-vision capability and two of the most powerful engines on this remote stretch of the Mekong River.

Today, like most days, it sits idle for lack of gasoline, guarded by a single Laotian soldier in flip-flops.

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