Foreign drug dealers taken on live TV by China before execution
A drug lord from Myanmar and his three accomplices were paraded before the media before being executed in the city of Kunming in southwest China's Yunnan province on Friday.
The last journey for the four men from their prison to their place of execution was shown live as camera-persons and photo-journalists followed their vehicles.
They were shown disembarking amid furiously clicking cameras and then being led to the building where they were later executed by lethal injections.
State-run Xinhua news agency live-tweeted the journey giving out details about police cars' arrival at the detention centre, beginning of handover, Naw Kham - the leader of the gang, "Godfather" - being brought out of the detention centre, smiling at the police.
"His expression is calm, even smiled at police. He is wearing a light green top, blue trousers, and a pair of black shoes," the Xinhua update, translated from Chinese, said.
The news agency added that the legal rights of the convicted were protected.
"Prosecutors of the Kunming People's Procuratorate were present to supervise the execution to verify the convicts' identities and ensure that the execution is conducted in accordance with the law," it added.
There were a couple of firsts for the case: it was the first time that Chinese authorities had extradited "foreign criminals" and, it was the first time, in many years, that state national broadcaster, Chinese Central Televsion (CCTV) had shown live footage of convicted criminals taken to be executed.
Earlier, CCTV showed an interview with Naw Kham, where he pleaded for his life for the sake of his 10 children.
"It's too severe," Naw Kham, sitting in a chair, said when asked about the ruling.
"I gave all the money I had to the victims' families. I beg the Chinese government to release me so I can go back and raise my children. Please, I have 10 boys and girls. There will be no one to raise them if I die," he told the CCTV reporter.
There were strong reactions on Chinese microblogs and some people called the continued broadcasts through the day, and at prime news hour bulletins, as insensitive.
According to the government statement on Thursday, under Naw Kham's instructions, several of his subordinates - from Thailand and Vietnam -- were also found to have kidnapped Chinese sailors and hijacked cargo ships in exchange for ransom in early April 2011.
"The gang was broken up in early 2012 in a joint operation conducted by police from China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand after the brutal murders of Chinese sailors triggered calls to rein in rampant crime in the border region," state-run Xinhua news agency said.