Thais warned against crossing Myanmar border at Phop Phra


TAK, May 2 – Thai nationals are advised against crossing the Myanmar border at Tak’s Phop Phra district as their safety is uncertain after the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) threatened to retaliate unless the Thai authorities removes its leader’s name from Thailand’s list of drug traffickers, the Tak governor said on Wednesday.

Governor Suriya Prasartbundit made his warning after the DKBA earlier issued a statement defending its commander-in-chief General Saw Ler Pwe, commonly known as Na Khan Mwe, who was listed by the Thai Narcotics Control Board on its list of 25 most-wanted drug traffickers.

In response to the latest DKBA move, Gov Suriya said he instructed authorities in Phop Phra district to warn residents on the Thai-Myanmar border–especially in four villages located just opposite DKBA-influenced areas–not to cross the boundary.

The governor said the warning came as Gen Saw Ler Pwe barred Thai residents and traders from entering its areas and that their safety could not be guaranteed.

A Thai News Agency reporter said that situation along the Thai-Myanmar border was normal this morning with some Karen and Myanmar residents continuing to cross the border to buy some goods in Thai territory amid tight security provided by Thai troops.

Karen News earlier quoted DKBA spokesman Capt Saw Ko Myo as saying that General Saw Ler Pwe was furious with the allegations of the Thai government.

He said the “accusations hurt not only the personal image of DKBA leader, but also smeared the DKBA and Burma.”

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung  is invited to investigate at any of the DKBA bases and they are willing to go to any court or stand trial if they are found guilty, the DKBA statement said.

“If the Thai government does not solve the problem to our satisfaction, we will sue it according to international law,” the statement said.