China drone strike plans on Shan drug lord

Likened to searching for Osama bin Laden, China was prepared to use drones after drug lord killed 13 Chinese sailors in Golden Triangle.

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MILITARY

China considered killing Naw Kham with drone

20 Feb 2013

China considered using a drone to kill drug warlord Naw Kham in the Myanmar section of the Golden Triangle last year, the Chinese anti-drug agent who chased him for months has revealed.

The drone operation stood down when senior Chinese officials said they wanted Naw Kham taken alive, and put on trial. He was subsequently captured in a joint Chinese-Lao operation, and has been sentenced to death by a Chinese court.

But Liu Yuejin, commander of the Chinese anti-drug force based in Yunnan, said the plan to kill the drug fugitive with a drone aircraft was well under way.

Within days of his capture, the Golden Triangle war lord was shown confessing on Chinese TV channels.

"Our plan was to use an unmanned aircraft to carry 20 kilogrammes of TNT to bomb the area,"

It was the first time any Chinese official has spoken openly of the development of drones by the country. So far, only the US, Britain and Israel have used unmanned aircraft on lethal operations outside their own borders.

Liu's interview with Global Times indicated that for China, it is a question of "when" not "if" its police or armed forces will use unmanned aircraft.

Naw Kham, a Shan drug lord with close relations to dealers in China, Laos and Thailand, became China's most wanted fugitive after he was suspected of masterminding the killing of 13 Chinese sailors in a violent drug deal in Chiang Rai province on Oct 5, 2011.

But his reputation went before him. He was known to Chinese anti-drug forces as early as 2008, Liu said. By the time of the Mekong killings, 16 Chinese had been killed and six injured in various drug deals, but Naw Kham was only a phantom.

Liu, 54, the director of the Ministry of Public Security's anti-drug bureau, said the case marked the first time ever that Chinese police were involved in a manhunt for criminals who were all non-Chinese citizens, and all living abroad.

Their own analysts said the hunt for Naw Kham could be as tough as the search for Osama bin Laden.

US President Barack Obama faced a similar decision when intelligence sources finally pinpointed bin Laden. Some US officials advised Mr Obama to use a drone strike to demolish the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan, but Mr Obama chose to confront Bin Laden in order to confirm his death.

Chinese officials, too, rejected the option of bombing Naw Kham. In the end, an international operation run jointly by Laos and China, with the cooperation of Thailand and Myanmar, brought Naw Kham into Liu's hands.

On April 25 of last year, Chinese police received intelligence that Naw Kham intended to cross from Myanmar into China, and set the ambush that resulted in his capture.

Naw Kham and several subordinates were tried and the warlord was sentenced to death. The Yunnan Higher Court denied his appeals on Dec 26, and he has been held on Death Row for nearly two months.

(Source: Bangkok Post, MILITARY, China considered killing Naw Kham with drone, 20 Feb 2013, link

 
Drone Vocabulary

drone - an aircraft without a pilot controlled from the ground (radio controlled), unmanned combat aerial vehicle (See Wikipedia)
unmanned aircraft -  Same as "drone"

aircraft - เครื่องบิน
pilot -  นักบิน

man (verb) - to have a person driving or operating some machine (or present at a place doing some job) 
manned (adjective)
unmanned (adjective) - not having a person working at a place

China considered killing Naw Kham with drone

warlord - a leader of a group outside the government involved in fighting and war
drug warlord - a powerful leader of a drug gang (selling drugs)

Golden Triangle - the area where Thailand, Burma and Laos meet and China is not far away, northern Chiang Rai province and especially the border town of Maesai is part of the Golden Triangle (See Wikipedia)

reveal - make known or showed something that was surprising or that was previously secret เปิดเผย
reveal facts

chase -
follow or run after someone quickly to catch them
the Chinese anti-drug agent who chased him for months 

China considered using a drone to kill drug warlord Naw Kham in the Myanmar section of the Golden Triangle last year, the Chinese anti-drug agent who chased him for months has revealed.

operation
- a planned activity using as lot of people such as soldiers or police

stand down - stop an operation that is currently happening 
drone operation stood down

trial - the process of examining a case in a court of law and deciding whether someone has or has not committed a crime การพิจารณาคดี
put on trial

Chinese officials said they wanted Naw Kham taken alive, and put on trial.

joint - do some activity or project together; done with someone else ร่วมกัน
joint Chinese-Lao operation

He was subsequently captured in a joint Chinese-Lao operation, and has been sentenced to death by a Chinese court.

force - a group soldiers or police (gathered together to do some task)
anti-drug force

commander - a police offer of high rank ผู้บังคับบัญชา
commander of the Chinese anti-drug force

fugitive - someone who has done something illegal and is trying to avoid being caught by the police ผู้หลบหนี
drug fugitive - a person who has broken drug laws and is trying to avoid arrest by the police
the plan to kill the drug fugitive with a drone aircraft

under way -
happening now, currently happening 
well under way -
happening now (and has been happening for a long time, already)
the plan
was well under way

But Liu Yuejin, commander of the Chinese anti-drug force based in Yunnan, said the plan to kill the drug fugitive with a drone aircraft was well under way.

confess - to say that you did do a crime, that you are guilty of a crime
confess on Chinese TV

capture - to take someone as a prisoner จับกุม

Within days of his capture, the Golden Triangle war lord was shown confessing on Chinese TV channels.

TNT - a high explosive

"Our plan was to use an unmanned aircraft to carry 20 kilogrammes of TNT to bomb the area,"

interview - to ask someone questions in a meeting for a newspaper article, television show, etc. The noun form is also interview สัมภาษณ์, การสัมภาษณ์

an interview carried in a Beijing newspaper

official - a high level government worker (who can make decisions and official statements)
openly - doing in way that everyone can see, not hiding
an official spoke openly

development
- the process of creating some new technology
development of drones
development of drones by the country

spoken openly of the development of drones by the country.
It was the first time any Chinese official has spoken openly of the development of drones by the country.

lethal - very dangerous and able to kill you เป็นอันตรายถึงชีวิต
lethal operations

used unmanned aircraft on lethal operations outside their own borders

So far, only the US, Britain and Israel have used unmanned aircraft on lethal operations outside their own borders

fugitive - running away from police (who want to arrest him)
most wanted fugitive

masterminding - planning a crime (a big important and complicated to organize crime)
masterminding the killing of 13 Chinese sailors

suspected - people believe that they might have done something wrong, but not yet proven เป็นที่สงสัย
suspected of masterminding the killing of 13 Chinese sailors

violent - involving the use of physical force, with the intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people รุนแรง
a violent drug deal

Naw Kham became China's most wanted fugitive after he was suspected of masterminding the killing of 13 Chinese sailors in a violent drug deal

reputation - being famous, remembered or known by the public for something (good reputation, bad reputation) ชื่อเสียง ความนับหน้าถือตา ที่เป็นที่รู้จัก
but his reputation went before him.

phantom - like a ghost (cannot be seen anywhere)
Naw Kham was only a phantom

bureau - a government organisation สำนักงาน
anti-drug bureau

manhunt - an organised search for a person, especially a criminal การล่าหัว การตามล่าจับกุม
manhunt for criminals
manhunt for criminals who were all non-Chinese citizens

Liu, 54, the director of the Ministry of Public Security's anti-drug bureau, said the case marked the first time ever that Chinese police were involved in a manhunt for criminals who were all non-Chinese citizens, and all living abroad

search - to look somewhere carefully in order to find something ค้นหา
the search for Osama bin Laden

tough - difficult to do or to deal with ยาก ยากลำบาก
could be as tough as the search for Osama bin Laden

Their own analysts said the hunt for Naw Kham could be as tough as the search for Osama bin Laden

intelligence - information collected about the secret plans of an enemy, criminal organisations, competitors, etc. ข่าวกรอง ข้อมูลลับ
strike - a sudden attack การโจมตี

demolish
- to completely destroy a building, especially in order to use the land for something else รื้อ (สิ่งก่อสร้าง), ทำลาย
compound - an area enclosed by a fence or wall in which people work or live บริเวณ บริเวณบ้าน

confront
- to face, meet or deal with a difficult person, group or situation เผชิญหน้า
confirm - to tell people that something they believe is certainly true ยืนยัน

US President Barack Obama faced a similar decision when intelligence sources finally pinpointed bin Laden. Some US officials advised Mr Obama to use a drone strike to demolish the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan, but Mr Obama chose to confront Bin Laden in order to confirm his death

option - a choice; something that you can choose in a particular situation ทางเลือก choice ตัวเลือก  

international
- involving more than one country or happening between countries ระหว่างประเทศ
international operation

jointly - done together อย่างร่วมกัน, พร้อมกัน, ด้วยกัน
run jointly by Laos and China

an international operation run jointly by Laos and China

cooperation - working together to achieve a goal ความร่วมมือ, การทำงานร่วมกัน
an international operation run jointly by Laos and China, with the cooperation of Thailand and Myanmar

Chinese officials, too, rejected the option of bombing Naw Kham. In the end, an international operation run jointly by Laos and China, with the cooperation of Thailand and Myanmar, brought Naw Kham into Liu's hands

intended - planned; wanted to happen ที่ได้วางแผนไว้ ที่ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น
Naw Kham intended to cross from Myanmar into China

ambush - to attack people after hiding and waiting to come to place
the ambush that resulted in his capture

On April 25 of last year, Chinese police received intelligence that Naw Kham intended to cross from Myanmar into China, and set the ambush that resulted in his capture

appeal - to ask a higher court to reverse the decision of a lower court
deny appeal - when the higher court does not reverse the decision of the lower court 
the court denied his appeals

on Death Row - the place in a prison where people live who are to die as punishment (sentenced to death, to be executed)

Naw Kham and several subordinates were tried and the warlord was sentenced to death. The Yunnan Higher Court denied his appeals on Dec 26, and he has been held on Death Row for nearly two months

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer