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Thailand Warns of ‘Threats’ by Karen Drug Lord



A Thai army officer watches the Myanmar border across the river from one of the check posts of Tak province (AFP/File, Samantha Brown)


CHIANGRAI TIMES – Thailand has warned the population of a border area with Myanmar after “threats” by the leader of a Burmese ethnic rebel group who was recently included in a list of most wanted drug dealers by Bangkok.

The Thai government last week released the list of 25 names, including the leader of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) known as Na Kham Mwe.

In response Na Kham Mwe allegedly issued a “threat” to Thais living in the Tak province which has a porous border with neighbouring Myanmar, the provincial governor told AFP.

“I have issued this warning to residents living near the border with Myanmar in the districts of Phobpra and Umphang, telling them to be careful when crossing the border… after a threat of violence by Na Kham Mwe,” said governor Suriya Prasartbandit.

“I have asked military and police to be on alert on the border but we have not increased forces (there). So far, the situation is normal.”

In late 2010 and early 2011 fierce fighting between the DKBA and Myanmar’s army pushed some 20,000 refugees across the border into Thailand.

According to the website of the exiled Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), the group was angry with Thai authorities after they implicated its leader in drug running, demanding evidence of his alleged crimes.

Thai deputy prime minister Chalerm Yubamrung however said Wednesday that an arrest warrant was issued against him as early as 2003.


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