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Burmese military seize drugs and equipment valued at 2.02 billion baht north of Chiang Rai

Jack Burton

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Burmese military seize drugs and equipment valued at 2.02 billion baht north of Chiang Rai | Thaiger
PHOTO: Some of the seized drugs and precursor chemicals - Chiang Rai Times

The Burmese military raided a methamphetamine pill factory and warehouses in Shan State, about 400 kilometres north of Chiang Rai province in Thailand’s northeast. Soldiers seized a vast quantity of drugs, precursor chemicals and drug-making equipment worth an estimated 2.02 billion baht. A spokesman for the Burmese military said that its soldiers conducted raids on plants in Kaungkha Village in Shan State and Kutkai Township, between February 28 and March 3. Kutkai is near the Myanmar-China border, north/northwest of Chiang Rai province.

During raids on the plant and warehouses, authorites found about 44 million meth pills, 129 kilograms of heroin, 15 kilograms of pseudoephedrine pills and hundreds of barrels of acid, and other chemicals and precursors. They also found pill production machines.

Military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun told reporters:

“That area is a border area where various armed groups are active, including people’s militias, so it is difficult to say who those drugs belong to.”

Burmese military seize drugs and equipment valued at 2.02 billion baht north of Chiang Rai | News by Thaiger

“We will also keep implementing security measures in the surrounding areas.”

Zaw also told media that some of the drugs and precursors to make meth pills were buried.

On Feb 25th, Burmese authorities seized large amount of crystal meth and meth pills in Shan state’s Tachileik. Acting on a tip, police seized 9 kilograms of crystal meth from separate cars and arrested three suspects in Tachileik township, and seized a total of 202,000 meth pills in Minekok Township, also in Shan State.

Last June, the Burmese military seized tens of thousands meth pills and precursor chemicals in Tachileik.

In a possibly related development, two Chinese suspects were yesterday arrested in Tachileik for a grisly double murder in Pattaya.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Chiang Rai sees 2 new infections linked to Bangkok, Chiang Mai entertainment venues

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Chiang Rai sees 2 new infections linked to Bangkok, Chiang Mai entertainment venues | Thaiger
Facebook photo via สำนักงานสาธารณสุขจังหวัดเชียงราย (Chiang Rai Provincial Health Office)

Chiang Rai is reporting 2 new Covid infections that are linked to entertainment venue clusters from Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The people who tested positive for the virus have entered a 14 day mandatory hospital quarantine. The governor of Chiang Rai and chair of the Communicable Diseases Committee ordered anyone travelling to the province from a red zone to self-monitor for 14 days and avoid contact with others.

He also noted that anyone returning to Chiang Rai from a controlled area must contact the village headman and community leader to organise village health volunteers. All of those who enter the province must follow Covid safety precautions with anyone violating the measures to be fined up to 20,000 baht under the Communicable Disease Act B.E. 2557.

Chiang Rai’s local officials have also voiced concern over Songkran, or the Thai new year festivities, and have banned water-splashing, foam parties, food catering and other types of close contact activities. Entertainment venues, pubs, karaoke, bars, and taverns are temporarily closed. And, other facilities like gyms, and tutoring companies are also ordered to limit visitors.

Health officials are also waiting for Covid-19 test results from 2 other people in Mae Sai district who returned from the same entertainment venues in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The news of another Covid outbreak has prompted the government to cancel the Songkran festivities in Bangkok.

Meanwhile, Chiang Rai Province has received 5,000 doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine that will be administered to certain groups of people who are on the frontlines in areas of Muang Chiang Rai District and border areas in 7 districts: Mae Sai, Mae Chan, Mae Fah Luang, Chiang Saen, Chiang Khong, Wiang Kaen, and Thoeng. The government also plans to distribute 800,000 doses of Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine to 22 provinces sometime in April.

But the vaccine’s effectiveness has come under scrutiny after Brazilian officials reported that the vaccine was only 50.4% effective in preventing Covid infections. That number is apparently quite low compared to what Sinovac Biotech quoted at 78%.

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Crime

Officials tracking down foreigners with fake IDs opening up illegal businesses in Chiang Rai

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Officials tracking down foreigners with fake IDs opening up illegal businesses in Chiang Rai | Thaiger

Thai news site TNA is reporting that the Department of Special Investigation is investigating 255 foreigners who are allegedly in possession of fake Thai IDs in the Wiang Kaen district of Chiang Rai. The report also claims that they were operating illegal businesses.

One of the suspects is Chinese but carried a Thai ID saying that he was a Thai citizen “Apao Saesoen”. The man later registered a company to run a business reserved for Thai citizens. The DSI believe that the issuing of fake Thai IDs could affect national security. The Chinese man, whose real name is Wen Haomiao, is now being tracked down after the issue of an arrest warrant.

The origins of the other foreigners, reported as ‘aliens’ in the Thai media, were not made apparent in the article.

The DSI director-general says his department is working with the local Department of Provincial Administration as they track down the sources of the fake documents. So far the investigation is concentrated in the Wiang Kaen district, in the far east of the province, on the Laos border.

The provincial office is trying to find and revoke Thai ID cards earlier issued for 50 foreigners. 7 of them had already set up alleged fake Thai companies.

Fake Thai IDs and other documentation was readily available is various markets around the country, especially in touristy areas. But recent crackdowns have pushed the lucrative market underground although fake documentation remains a popular business in Thailand. Khao San Road was a hive of fake documentation until a crackdown in 2018 forced most of the illegal vendors off the streets.

SOURCE: TNA

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Border officials on alert for Burmese coup protesters fleeing military crackdown

Maya Taylor

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Border officials on alert for Burmese coup protesters fleeing military crackdown | Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

Border police have increased patrols in the northern province of Chiang Rai amid concerns that Burmese protesters may try to cross into the Mae Sai district. This follows a military crackdown in the Burmese border town of Tachilek as the army tries to quell anti-coup rallies.

According to a Bangkok Post report, Sompong Chingduang from Thailand’s Immigration Bureau says the authorities in Mae Sai continue to monitor the situation in Tachilek. On Saturday, 2 protesters were killed in the Burmese city of Mandalay after officials opened fire on demonstrators protesting the February 1 coup.

The following day, thousands rallied in the town of Myawaddy, on the border of the Mae Sot district in the Thai province of Tak, while another protest was held in Tachilek. The Tachilek protest led to the border between Thailand and Myanmar being shut for 2 hours. It’s understood the largest rallies yet are being planned for today.

Meanwhile, Sompong has issued a warning that nobody fleeing the military crackdown in Myanmar will be granted entry to Thailand but will instead be turned away from the border. He says to do otherwise would pose too much of a health risk for Thailand, given the Covid-19 situation.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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