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Yawdserk Attacking Armed Drug Gang

Subject: Yawdserk Attacking  Armed Drug Gangs

28 Nobember 1998 

Yowdserk Attacking Armed Drug Gangs? 

The Shan States Army Southern?s Khun Sang Tonhoong Column has begun its
operations against drug gangs along the Thai border, according to the
highly placed source from the SSA. 

The Shan troops under Major Khamleng?s command attacked and captured 5 drug
smugglers (1 dead 4 alive) on 8 November opposite Wianghaeng District,
Chiangmai Province. They, together with the drugs, 2½ kg of heroin, were
handed over to the Tai Army unit three days later. 

Another drug gang was interdicted the next day at Doi Phakgood, opposite
Maehongson Province. However, before the gang could be encircled, the
gangsters fled into Thai territory, where the pursuing Shans were blocked
by a Border Patrol Police unit stationed along the border which led to the
drug gang?s escape, according to Orntern, Commander Yawdserk?s spokesman.
He said, ?We are here along the border in order to eliminate the drug
activities. We hope our cousins across the border who want to get rid of
the menace of drugs understand and not make things hard for us?. 

He added that the drug gangs were under the protection of the Burma Army.
?The Burmese get the money and we get the blame?, said he. 

Asked how the SSA could survive without drug money coming as tax, he
replied: ?We have been enjoying the support of several well-to-do friends
both at home and abroad who shall be happy to see the end of the Burmese

The reports from the border indicates that the Burmese units had been
ordered to block the Salween crossings. The Thai Army is also sending some
units ostensibly to prevent spillovers of the fighting into Thai territory
but fear was expressed by some Shans that Thais may collaborate with the
Burmese in order to facilitate the Salween Dam Project that is being
jointly planned by Bangkok and Rangoon. 

?Blood may be thicker than water. But if the report is true, then money
might become thicker than blood,? said a middle-aged Shan .