Two drug traffickers were killed and 22,200 methamphetamine pills seized late on Sunday night in a clash with a combined force of police and para-military rangers of the Pha Muang Force in Thoeng district of Chiang Rai province, police said.
Pol Maj-Gen Songtham Alapach, the Chiang Rai police chief, said the combined police-ranger force laid in wait near Rom Pho Thong village in tambon Tap Tao of Thoeng district between kilometre markers 56-57 on the road to Phu Chi Fa mountain near the Thai-Lao border after learning that a drug gang would transport speed pills across the border from Laos.
Late in the night, the combined force spotted five men carrying backpacks and AK47 rifles walking down from the mountain and ordered them to stop for a search.
The smugglers opened fire and a 10 minute gunfight followed.
After the clash, the police and rangers examined the area and found the bodies of two men who were killed in the fight. One of them was identified as Laopho sae Wang, 50, a villager of Rom Pho Thong village, and the other was an unidentified Hmong from neighbouring Laos.
The three other smugglers fled back across the border.
A backpack containing 22,200 methamphetamine pills and a 9mm pistol were also found at the scene.