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News from Bangkok Post 28/5/98
Burmese abduct officials and demand release of trafficker
Shots fired as police arrest speed dealer .
Burmese soldiers took three Thai officials hostage opposite Tak province
yesterday and successfully demanded the release of a Burmese man detained
earlier for drug trafficking in Thailand.
The cross-border conflict started Tuesday evening when five Thai policemen
arrested Kyaw Thi Hla, a 15 year-old member of the Democratic Karen
Buddhist Army (DKBA), for selling amphetamine pills on the Thai side of the
Moei river in Tha Song Yang district.
Upon his arrest, DKBA troops opened fire from across the border against
Thai police. The attack was countered by the Thai side and the intense
exchange of fire lasting over half an hour was backed by about 200 Thai
soldiers, border patrol police and volunteers.
The shooting injured a Thai policeman, police Constable Somkiart
Kongpho,and two DKBA soldiers and killed four other DKBA members.
Tawan Angoonpana, headman of the Mae tarn village, asked Burmese troops
through radio contacts, to cease fire and promised that he and other Thai
officials would cross the border for peace talks.
Mr. Tawan, and two officials, Prasert Akaruan and Virat Boonma, from the
local administration organisation went to the Mawpoke camp across the Moei
river yesterday morning.
Capt Thein Aye representing the Burmese camp demanded the release of the
suspected drug trafficker and threatened to resume the shooting if the
demand was not met.
Thai officials first rejected the demand, stating that the suspect has to
be prosecuted on drug trafficking charges. suddenly, they were held hostage
by Burmese troops who insisted that the demand be met.
Kyaw Thi Hla was released in exchange for the three officials yesterday