CHIANG RAI – Major General Bancha Suriyapan of Chiang Rai’s 3rd Army told a press briefing that 5 drug runners were shot and killed in a clash with soldiers from the Pha Muang Force in the Doi Nang Non mountain range in Mae Sai district near the border with Myanmar on Saturday.
Gen. Banchathat said that Authorities were tipped off that a drug shipment was on the way, the troops staked out an area in Tambon Winga Phang Kham, Mae Sai district.
Soldiers from the Pha Muang Force laying in wait near Pha Mi village in tambon Wiang Pha Kham, about 700 meters from the Myanmar border, spotted seven armed men carrying backpacks walking along a jungle trail.
When the soldiers told them to stop and lay down their weapons for a search, the men opened fire, leading to a gunfight that lasted about 15 minutes.
After the gunfire stopped the soldier remained at their station until daylight on Sunday morning, where they found the bodies of five unidentified men, believed to be tribesmen from across the border.
They also recovered 5 sacks, each containing about 200,000 methamphetamine pills, were found near the bodies. A quantity of assorted ammunition was also recovered.
There are two natural border-crossings near the clash site, close to Sampi village in Myammar’s Tachilek province known as a drug production base of Muser tribesmen led by Lt Gen Yi Se.
Drugs have been smuggled through the two border-crossings into Mae Ai district of Chiang Mai and Mae Fa Luang, Mae Chan and Mae Sai districts of Chiang Rai, leading to frequent clashes with the Thai authorities.
Sources: The Nation, Bangkok Post, Army Times