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29 Year-Old Akha Hill Tribesman Dead After Shootout with Chiang Rai Police

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CHIANG RAI – Narcotics Suppression Police have shot and killed a 29 year-old Akha hill tribesman who allegedly resisted arrest and opened fire on police in Mae Chan, Chiang Rai early Thursday morning.

Chiang Rai Police said the gunfight between Chiang Rai’s narcotics suppression police and Akor Saemee, 29 took place at 1.30am on the main road in Moo 4 village in Tambon Pa Sang in Chiang Rai’s Mae Chan district.

Lt. Col. Thepwitoon Chang Khao Chai(Translated from Thai) said police were acting on a tip that couriers would smuggle methamphetamine’s from the Myanmar border into Chiang Rai, they staked out the location until they saw two pickup trucks approaching.

When officers signaled for the trucks to stop, the driver in the front vehicle opened fire on them, prompting police to return fire.

The fire fight was said to have lasted approximately 5 minutes.

In the back of the truck under a tarp Police found 25 bags of containing 5 Million methamphetamine pills.

After the fire fight ended police found the body of Akor dead in the driver’s seat of the pickup with a shotgun beside his dead body. In the back of the truck under a tarp police found 25 bags of containing 5 Million methamphetamine pills stamped with the numerals “999” a trademark associated with Myanmar drug lords.

The other pickup and driver escaped the scene during the gunfight, police have launched a hunt for the suspect and vehicle.

The Golden Triangle — the lawless wedge of land intersecting China, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos — is the main base of operations for Southeast Asia’s highly lucrative methamphetamine trade.

Attempts to crack down on the drug’s influx into Thailand have resulted in massive seizures and left at least 15 alleged smugglers shot dead in the country’s north since the start of November.