Drugs seized by the Thai police following a gun battle yesterday originated in Punako People’s Militia Force (PMF) based in Monghsat township, according to sources from both sides of the border.
Punako is located in Monghsat’s Mongtoom tract, opposite Chiangmai Mae Fa Luang district. The drug shipment seized by the Thai police however came through Loi Taw Kham tract in Tachilek township. “This was because the usual channel, Maejok (in Monghsat township) Hmong Kao Lang (in Mae Fa Luang district) is already over used and under round-the-clock surveillance,” explained a source.
Not a few Burma watchers had thought the drugs seized by the Thais: 70 kg of Ice (crystalline methamphetamine) and 550,000 yaba (methamphetamine) pills came from Col Yishay of Nampong, wanted in Thailand on drug charges, and his nephew Wilson Moe, an elected “Senator”, MP for the Upper House. 8.7 million yaba pills were found in the nearby village of Pha Khao, Loi Taw Kham tract, on 13 February, which were then attributed to Nampong People’s Militia Force (PMF) net work.
One 23 March, Punako was raided. The raiders included foreigners who, according to local sources, looked like Chinese officials. However, the village, forewarned of the raid, got away and the raiding party was forced to return empty-handed.
Punako PMF, led by Ai Long and Ja Ngoi, was first reported by SHAN’s Shan Drug Watch programme in 2003. Mong Toom, which forms as the entrance to the village is guarded by two Burma Army light infantry battalions: 553 and 554.
7 Akha militiamen were killed during yesterday’s fight. They were from the Hsarmpi PMF across the Thai border. “They seemed to have trusted their contacts in Thailand enough to carry arms well inside Thai territory,” one local source commented. “The fact also indicates that this was not their first armed trip into Thailand.”
One veteran Burma watcher gave SHAN a succinct comment: “The police have killed the chicken in their coop.”
Origin of the expression: Chickens outside the coop have to be caught first. But those inside it are ready for the slaughter at any time
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