CHIANG RAI – Thailand has asked the Myanmar government to protect Thai tourists who visit the country after the abduction of five Thais in May.
The issue was raised by the Thai-Myanmar Border Township Committee (TBC) in the Tachilek border town on Wednesday.
Pa Muang taskforces special unit commander Thanadpol Kosaisewi, who co-chairs the TBC on the Thai side, told his Myanmar counterpart the request for stricter protection came after five Thai tourists were abducted by members of the Wa ethnic minority. A ransom of 6 billion baht was demanded.
The tourists were nabbed while they stayed at a hotel in Tachilek and held from May 4 to 31. The victims managed to escape and fled back to Thailand via Hua Mae Khum village in Mae Fa Luang district of Chiang Rai on June 1.
Thailand has asked Myanmar authorities to take legal action against those who demanded the ransom.
Col Thanadpol said Thailand had also asked Myanmar to delay giving approval for a plan to build a dam at the Kok River. The plan was proposed by members of the Wa ethnic minority.
The construction of the dam will affect farming in Thailand in areas that depend on river water in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces.
This article first appeared in the Bangkok Post on June 13, 2013.