Myanmar drug kingpin Naw Kham and three of his associates were on Friday executed by Chinese authorities for their role in the murder of 13 sailors in 2011.
A court in Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan in southwest China, said the four were killed by lethal injection on Friday afternoon.
The accused were shown on live television before their execution, as they were taken, handcuffed, from their prison cells. The State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) ran a two-hour special live broadcast leading up to their execution, although it did not broadcast the act itself.
The brutal killing of the 13 Chinese sailors triggered anger and outrage in China. The government launched a man-hunt across three countries for Kham, even considering launching a drone strike on a Myanmar village at one point — it later shelved the plan in order to catch him alive.
Kham’s trial and sentencing received widespread media attention in China, with the government using the case to underscore the measures it would take to defend the rights of Chinese citizens overseas.
CCTV’s decision to broadcast the final moments of the four accused did, however, stir debate, with some Chinese netizens saying the live show was in bad taste while others said it would serve as a welcome deterrent to future attacks against Chinese nationals overseas.