Burma to arrest 18 key drug fugitives: Thai narcotics official

Burma to arrest 18 key drug fugitives: Thai narcotics official

Burma will arrest 18 major drug fugitives while seeking Thai development projects to end drug production among its border people, according to Thailand’s narcotics control chief.

Sirinya Sitdhichai, secretary­-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), said on Wednesday that he received positive signals from his Burmese counterpart, Police Brigadier General Aung Win Oo — who is also Burma’s police chief — during their meeting in Bangkok on Tuesday to discuss cooperation in fighting illegal drugs.

During the meeting the ONCB secretary­general asked Burma to arrest 18 key drug fugitives including Yi Se, a leader of the Lahu ethnic group, and Tawatchai Aumchompu, who had fled an appeals court trial in Thailand’s Sisaket province. Police believe Tawatchai helped hide three Thai women suspected of murdering and dismembering a Khon Kaen karaoke bar worker late last month.

Sirinya identified other fugitives as Fong Patumnee, Suchada Tuaypha and Veera Meunjada.

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He said many of the fugitives were running restaurants and karaoke shops in Burma’s border areas, including the town of Tachilek opposite Mae Sai in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province.

Sirinya said that while authorities at official border crossings were on the lookout for the fugitives, it was possible for them to cross the border at other points unseen.

He also said that Aung Win Oo proposed that Thailand expand royal development projects in Burma’s border areas to help improve the locals’ living standards and encourage them to stop growing plants used to make illicit drugs.

The proposal followed successful implementation of Thai royal development projects in Burma’s Yawng Kha area.

This story was originally published by the Bangkok Post here.

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