Police in Shan State say they have arrested 46 people and seized a large cache of drugs and weapons in a sting on a jungle camp near Lashio following an investigation into a series of sword attacks in the town late last month.
Police colonel Aung Myat Moe, the deputy-chief of Shan State police, said eight men had been taken into custody in the past week following sword attacks that left six people injured on 26 and 27 April.
“We went on a manhunt looking for the culprits who attacked people at night for no particular reason and have detained eight individuals so far,” he said. “We are preparing to press charges on six of them and the other two are still being questioned.”
He said police conducted urine tests on the suspects and found that they had drugs in their systems.
“They confessed to the attacks but claimed they couldn’t remember exactly what happened or who they attacked — they said they were just high on drugs and attacked anyone in sight,” he added.
The suspects were said to be young men, including some from Lashio and others from out of town. Some had tried to resist arrest but were ultimately apprehended, said Aung Myat Moe.
The officer said a similar spate of attacks took place in the town in 2013, resulting in the arrest of 22 individuals in a subsequent crackdown.
Based on a tip from the suspects, the police were able to crack down on a gang of drug dealers in a jungle camp outside of the town before dawn on Wednesday morning.
“This morning we raided the hideout of a gang of drug dealers in the village-tract of Humon — they had set up a camp on a hill deep in the woods — at around 3:30am and detained 46 people, including dealers, buyers and users,” said Aung Myat Moe.
In addition to the arrests, the police also seized 17 motorbikes, 36 soap boxes packed with heroin, 2,820 methamphetmaine pills and 32 swords of various length.
The Shan State police urged local people to inform them of any suspicious activity they encounter.