Defense forces and public security forces are to jointly patrol the Laos-China Railway to ensure the smooth operation of railway services.
Vientiane Times reports that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, General Chansamone Chanyalath, spoke during a meeting held in Luang Prabang on Monday to discuss security along the railway.
General Chansamone said that central and local forces must work together to more effectively maintain the security of the railway line, which was plagued with theft and other crimes during its construction phase.
Meanwhile, Col. Kaysone Keomany, Director-General of the Railway Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, said during a meeting in Luang Prabang that some 37 cases of theft or destruction of public property had been recorded in January alone.
Incidents included theft of power lines, railroad fencing, and construction equipment.
Police had also been forced to deal with animals straying onto the tracks, people lying on the rails, and vehicles stolen from railway stations.
According to Co. Kaysone, on 6 December last year, a power line was cut in Nongboua Village, about four kilometers from Phonhong station. As a result, the train from Luang Prabang was delayed by 54 minutes as it waited at Vang Vieng Station for repairs to be completed.
Four suspects were detained after investigations into the incident.
Six individuals were also detained by railway security on 11 December after being found with climbing equipment, blades, and lighting.
Police have also urged passengers to be aware of items that are prohibited on the railway, including firearms, weapons, explosives, hazardous chemicals, certain medicines and drugs, livestock and wildlife, or strong-smelling foods.