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Bangkok post and The Nation (14/5/9

News headlines
1:) Thais held by Karen army freed
2:) Released Thai hostage to face prosecution

Thais held by Karen army freed

Eleven Thais taken hostage by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army were freed
yesterday after a ransom was paid.
	An army source said Army Commander-in-Chief Chettha Tanajaro had
personally contacted Burma's State Peace and Development Council First
Secretary Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt who had reported told the DKBA to free the
	However, a border source in Mae Sot claimed that before the DKBA agreed to
free them, a Thai negotiator was ordered to pay a 10,000-baht ransom and
deliver a four-wheeled pick-up truck to the DKBA.
	The hostage were freed after local Border Patrol Police company commander
Pol-Lt-Col Anurak Sutsonm held five hours of alks with the area's DKBA
commander Lt Aung Paing.
	Jamnong khammuen, owner of an illegal sawmill in a DKBA-controlled area
opposite Ban Mae La in Tha Song Yang, and 10 workers were apprehended by
DKBA troops after they were suspected of being spies for the DKBA's main
rival, the Karen National Union.
	The Burme-backed DKBA had inntially demanded 500,000 baht ransom and 30
sacks of rice for their return.
	Army secretary Pongthep Thespratheep said yesterday that Gen Chettha had
coordinate with the DKBA to free the hostages.
	However, Maj-Gen Pongthep said the army is to take legal action against
the free hostages for illegally crossing the border into Burma to prevent
future illegal border incursions.
	An army source said Gen Chettha has been coordinating with leading Burmese
military figures for reopening of the Mae Sot border checkpoint, whish was
closed earlier following the KNU cross border attack from the border town. 
	" The army commander is concerned with the situation and will try his
utmost to reopen the border checkpoint," said the source.

Released Thai hostages to face prosecution

Twelve Thais who were taken hostage for ransom by pro-Burma Karen rebels
opposite Tak province, were released yesterday and will face legal action,
Army Secretary Maj Gen Pongthep Thespratheep said.
	The rebels, known as the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, detained the
twelve and sought a ransom for them since the rebels thought they were
linked to a recent attacl by a rival Karen group on their base.
	" The DKBA found the men in their controlled territory so they suspected
their involvement in the recent attack," Pongthep said.
	The DKBA, supported by the Burmese government, has been trying hard to
suppress the Karen National Union which has been fighting for independence
from the government.
	He added that the Thais had a clandestine logging and sawmill deal with
another Karen group and that they were frequently crossing into Burma
without permission.

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