Illustrative image (Source: Internet)

 Hanoi (VNA) – China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand started a new joint patrol on the Mekong River on December 20 to increase safety on the border river.

The 53th joint patrol involves seven ships and 190 law enforcers, departing from Guanlei port in the Xishuangbanna autonomous region in the southwest of China’s Yunnan province with the range of 500 kilometres.

The mechanism began on December 2011 to address safety concerns after a group of pirates hijacked two cargo ships and killed 13 Chinese sailors in Thailand’s internal water on November 5, 2011.

A total of 386 ships and more than 8,000 law enforcers covered 26,000 kilometres along the Mekong River in previous patrols. According to Xishuangbanna police, the number of ships travelling through major ports of the four countries on the Mekong River and trade in those ports have increased sharply since the joint patrols started in 2011.-VNA