China names first counter-terrorism chief

Beijing, Dec 21 (IANS) China has appointed Liu Yuejin, a key figure in the country’s crackdown on illegal narcotics, as its first counter-terrorism chief, a media report said on Monday.

The 56-year-old, previously an assistant minister of public security, will coordinate the nation’s efforts to prevent terrorist attacks, the China Daily reported.

However, no further details on the appointment were disclosed.

Liu has been involved in efforts to halt the illegal drug trade since the 1980s.

After the murder of 13 Chinese fishermen aboard two vessels, the Huaping and Yuxing 8, in October 2011, Liu was appointed head of a special investigation team that worked with police in Laos, Myanmar and Thailand to capture the culprits, including druglord Naw Kham.

In November 2012, Naw Kham, who was from Myanmar, and several members of his gang were sentenced to death in a Yunnan court.

Liu has also served as deputy director of public security for Tianjin, director of the Public Security Ministry’s General Affairs Office and director of the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force Academy.

Liu’s appointment follows a series of terror attacks in recent years across the country that have claimed many lives, including in March 2014 when an armed gang killed 29 people and injured 143 others in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province.

In May 2014, the ministry launched a one-year operation targeting major violent incidents.

According to the officials, several terror suspects from Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region were prevented from leaving the country to receive terrorist training in the Middle East or join the Islamic State.

After the November 13 attacks in Paris, which left 129 dead and hundreds injured, China has “strengthened patrols and preventive measures across the country to stop similar cases occurring here”, the ministry added.

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