CHIANG RAI – Soldiers from Pha Muang Task Force have shot and killed a drug runner after a firefight near the border of Myanmar in Mae Sai District early Friday morning.
Maj Gen Wichit Wongsang, commander of the Pha Muang Task Force, said a unit on patrol the near the Ruak River in Ban Sri Pa Daeng of tambon Koh Chang in Mae Sai District came across the smugglers about 12.30am.
About 15 armed men were seen carrying bags across the river from Myanmar to the Thai bank.
When the soldiers signaled them to stop, they opened fire, he said. The clash lasted about 20 minutes and the intruders retreated into Myanmar.
Around dawn, the soldiers found the body of a man wearing red shorts and a black shirt with a bullet wound to the head.
Three military-style bags had also been dropped containing approximately 350,000 methamphetamine pills.
Meanwhile, Army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong has ordered a stepped-up drug suppression operation from now until January as trafficking is expected to intensify.
The operation will focus on areas along the Mekong River as it passes through the North and Northeast of the country, said Col Sirichan Ngathong, the army’s deputy spokeswoman, after Monday’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) meeting chaired by Gen Apirat.
The 2nd and 3rd Armies and the navy will work together on the anti-drug operation, which will be carried out on both the Thai side of the border and the Mekong River, said Col Sirichan.