Thai police raid Karen houses

Feb 5, 2010 (DVB), The home of a senior Karen National Union politician and a neighbouring office belonging a Karen media group in western Thailand were raided by police yesterday.

The editor of the Karen Information Committee (KIC), Nan Paw Ghay, said that police and army had arrived yesterday morning at the house of David Thackabaw, KNU vice president, with a warrant for drugs, human trafficking and weapons sales.

"General Thackabaw doesn't live there anymore, the officials took photos of the house," she said. It is the second time in four months that his house, in the border town of Mae Sot, has been raided.

Analysts in Mae Sot said the warrant was a pretext for heaping pressure on the KNU, after a pledge from the Thai government to Burma that it will not house opposition groups on its soil.

"The KIC office next door had it gates locked, so they climbed up to our upstairs window from General Thackabaw's [connecting] balcony. They took data from our office and also took photos of the office."

The KIC raid was similarly deemed a show of force against the KIC for reporting news on the Thai government's plan to forcibly repatriate some 3000 Karen refugees back to Burma.

The repatriation was however suspended this morning while talks take place between the Thai army and representatives of the refugees. The plans had received international media attention, which may have triggered the suspension.

Reporting by Naw Noreen

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