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Burmanet News 15/8/95

Burma summons Thai envoy over fishing incident

The Nation/15.8.95

BURMA yesterday summoned the Thai Ambassador to Rangoon, Poksak
Nilubol, to alert him to an incident last week in which a group
of Thais allegedly killed at least two Burmese fishermen, Foreign
Minister Kasem S Kasemsri said.

According to figures given to Poksak, 13 Burmese are still
missing, the minister said.

"Thai authorities will speed up their investigations into the
incident and we expect to conclude gathering information as soon
as possible. We want to show the Rangoon government the sincerity
of Thailand's desire to solve the case," Kasem said.

The Foreign Ministry was informed of the incident from the
various authorities concerned, he said, adding that the number of
dead and missing were still unconfirmed.

Last week two Burmese bodies were discovered swept ashore near
Thrahtay Island south of Rangoon in Kawthong province, also known
as Victoria Point.

The two victims were believed to be among the Burmese who alerted
Burmese authorities to the illegal activities of a Thai fishing

The murder was reportedly in retaliation for Burma scraping a
joint fishing deal with a Thai company after it found the
allegation to be true.

"The incident has affected only and aspect of the bilateral
relationship but not the whole relationship. I am very sorry that
this happened but all we can do now is wrap up the case as soon
as possible," Kasem said.

"The Rangoon government is angry and upset with the death of the
Burmese," he said.

While the exact number of deaths has not been confirmed, Burmese
intelligence reports indicate that 17 Burmese were killed.

Asked to comment on Burma's order to close the Victoria Point
channel which is close to Ranong province, he said the reaction
was understandable.

"If I were on the Burmese  side, I may have done the same. This
time the incident involved the lives of innocent people," Kasem

Prime Minister Banharn Silapa-acha has already ben informed of
the murders, he said, adding that the Legal and Treaties Affairs
Department has already studied the laws concerned.

According to the legal department, if the murder takes place in a
Thai vessel, Thailand has the jurisdiction to handle it.
Therefore our side will bring the culprits to justice," Kasem

The chairman  of Ranong Chamber of Commerce, Somchai Aemchit,
yesterday said the closure of the last border checkpoint between
Thailand and Burma in Ranong has caused a tremendous economic

He said trading and tourism, which accounted for the major part
of Ranong's economy, has greatly suffered.

Somchai said he believed the Burmese authorities' order stemmed
from problematic relations between the two countries that had not
yet been resolved.

Somchai called for urgent dialogue between high-level
representatives from both sides to seriously resolve the
deteriorating conditions.

Meanwhile, Tak's Chamber of Commerce chairman Niyom Wairatapanich
said the closing of all border checkpoints in that province had
seriously hurt the local economy.

He said 90 per cent of Tak's border trading had been lost since
the checkpoint closure which also affected the tourism business.
An average of Bt6 million per day in trading had now disappeared,
Niyom said.


Panel to probe murder of Burmese men on Thai ship

bkk post/15.8.95

THE Interior Ministry has ordered a fact-finding committee set up
to probe last week's murder of Burmese crewmen on board a Thai
fishing trawler.

Earlier reports said the authorities suspected the crewmen might
have been killed on a Thai trawler in Burmese waters off Victoria
Point. The names of the crewmen, employed by Narong Canning Co,
were withheld.

Burmese authorities reportedly ordered Narong Canning's fishing
concession revoked after the murders.

According to an Interior Ministry report the company's trawler,
Sitthipongchai 6, with 18 Burmese among its crew, was searched by
Burmese authorities at a port in Mergui district following a
tipoff that the boat had prohibited communications equipment on

The Burmese port authorities seized a satellite dish from the
trawler, its skipper reportedly had to dump a radio transmitter
prior to the search to avoid arrest.

The boat's Thai crew were enraged after learning that five
Burmese crewmen had informed the port authorities about the
prohibited  goods.

The "Sitthipongchai 6" then chased after the Burmese crew who had
boarded another Thai trawler also owned by Narong Canning.

When the "Sitthipongchai 6" caught up with the second boat near
Victoria Point, its skipper and several Thai crew allegedly took
turns hitting the five Burmese on their heads with pieces of

One of the five Burmese managed to escape unhurt and informed
Burmese police of the murders.

The bodies of two Burmese crewmen were washed ashore last week in

The other two Burmese crewmen were still missing, according to
the ministry report.

Ranong police have arrested two Thai crew of the "Sitthipongchai
6" in connection with the murders.

Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of the trawler
skipper, who is still at large.

Burmese authorities have temporarily closed down the border in
Ranong, bringing border trade to a standstill.

Thai trawlers have also been barred from entering Burmese waters.

The fact-finding committee consists of Interior Ministry
inspectors-general, Ranong governor, representatives of the
Police Department and the Local Administration Department.

It is chaired by Deputy Interior Permanent Secretary Damri

The committee was set up to ensure justice is done and to protect
the interests of both countries.

Foreign Minister Kasem S.Kasem said Thailand's investigation into
the encident will be quick because it affects the relations of
the two countries.

The Interior Ministry is responsible for the investigation.

"If the incident took place on a Thai boat, it can under the
jurisdiction of Thai law," the military told reporters.

M.R Kasem said the incident involved conflict of interest and

The ship which belongs to Narong Canning Co, a joint venture with
the state-owned Fisheries Department, was granted permission to
operate in Burmese waters some months ago.

The Foreign Minister gave a different account to that revealed by
sources at the Interior Ministry who said the company's ship
transferred the better portion of the catch to other boats which
smuggled it to Thailand.

The ship turned it to Burma only poor-quality catch for
inspection and profit sharing.

The dishonest actions were reported to the Burmese authorities by
Burmese crewmen. Most of the crew were Burmese. In the end they
were killed in the attacks.

As a result of the incident Thai Ambassador to Rangoon Poksakdi
Nilubol was summoned by Burma's Political Affairs Department to
receive a protest.

According to  the state-run New Light of Myanmar's report, the
Burmese Government revoked the operation rights of Narong

A senior official said all Thai boats operating in Burmese waters
were also called in for inspection.

The closure of a temporary checkpoint at Ranong-Kawthong on
Friday was the last of a recent series of border checkpoint


2 Thai hunters killed in Burma

bkk post/15.8.95

Mae Sot, Tak

TWO Thais were killed and one injured in a brief shootout with
Burmese soldiers on Sunday after they crossed over to the Burmese
side of the border to hunt.

One of the Burmese soldiers also reportedly died in the incident.

The dead Thais were identified as Somkhuan Chiangkhaek, 47, and
Khampan Keukhan 54, from Mae Kon Kaen Village in Mae Sot.

On Sunday they and nine other Thais, all armed with shotguns,
crossed the border into Burma.

A few kilometres from the border, the group met with at least 10
Burmese soldiers who ordered them to stop.

However all 11 Thais began to run away and the Burmese opened


Karenni reject Burma ultimatum to end fighting 

bkk post/15.8.95

A SENIOR Karenni source said yesterday the Karenni National
Progressive Party has rejected outright Slorc's ultimatum to end
fighting between the two sides and meet Burmese military
commanders in Kayah State.

Slorc has warned the KNPP to return to the negotiating table at
Loikaw, the Karenni capital, by August 13 or face a full military

The KNPP source said the ultimatum was rejected because "it
questions the credibility of the Slorc" which broke the ceasefire
agreement signed between both sides in March this year.

Three Slorc representatives were presently urging the Karennis to
end the fighting to avoid the non-disintegration of the union and
national solidary as well as to perpetuate sovereignty, the
source said.

These three conditions are "not applicable to us because the two
sovereign sides had already reached a ceasefire agreement on
March 21," said the source.

Also as long as Burmese troops don't end their artillery
bombardment of KNPP forces, "it was impossible to meet with the
Slorc," he said.

The ceasefire was shattered in June when Karenni guerrillas
clashed with Burmese troops.


Typed by the Research Department of the ABSDF(MTZ)   15/8/95