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Patrolling The Mekong ep.4: Lao business prospers as security improves

Reporter: Meng Qingsheng 丨 CCTV.com

12-21-2016 13:25 BJT

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Joint Patrol and Law Enforcement initiative on the Mekong River. Today we continue our six-part series, Patrolling the Mekong. In this episode, our reporter Meng Qingsheng visits a rice noodle shop in the Bokeo Province of Laos near the Golden Triangle. The owner says that business is prospering as security continues to improve along the Mekong.

Ban Mom Village along the Mekong River. Life here is simple and relaxing. It’s a good way to pass the time, sipping on a beer and gobbling up a bowl of tasty rice noodles in the afternoon.

Kham has been running this shop for six years. And, she says it’s a blessing from the Mekong.

"The Mekong River provides a vital way of life for the people here. Either you’re a villager, a shop owner, or someone like me, running a rice noodle shop, we all have to rely on this river," Kham said.

The rice noodles served here are made by Kham herself. She has developed a special flavor, catering to the local people’s taste buds. And it’s quite reasonably priced - 8000 Lao kip for each serving, about one US dollar.

"Many of the patrons are my friends and relatives from the village. They come here regularly. And people here love my rice noodles," Kham said.

The security and situation in this village used to be chaotic.

Naw Kham, the drug lord responsible for killing 13 Chinese sailors in October, 2011, was active here before his arrest and execution.

Some of his relatives live nearby.

Local police, refusing to appear on camera, say many villagers and locals were involved in the drug business.

"Border police from China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand conduct patrols near the village and are responsible for law enforcement in the area. Life here is much safer than before," Kham said.

For most part of the year, Kham’s husband works outside the village. Despite no helping hand around, she has decided to expand the business.

"I hope that the village becomes more prosperous, so that my business can grow. I've already tried some new recipes," Kham said.

This waterfront village has gone through many changes over the years. And as security improves along the Mekong River, people here have more choices available to enhance their livelihood. It's still the Mekong River that brings new hope and prosperity.

In the neighborhood nearby, businessmen from Thailand join a party held by their Lao counterparts.

They celebrate a newly-reached deal for a customized tourist service on the two sides of the river.

Now, more and more people in the village, just like Kham, are starting to embrace the new changes, and benefit from the peace along the Mekong River.

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