CHIANG Rai police seized 6,000 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition used for the M16 and M4-Series assault rifles and 52 K75 grenades that were to be sent to Myanmar’s Tachileik town which is just opposite Mae Sai town on the Thai side, Thai Rath newspaper said this evening (March 29).
This cache of ammo and grenades had been packed in six boxes and dropped off to Sak Mobile Shop in Mae Sai by a private delivery company on Sunday, March 28, to keep until another party came to collect it for delivery to Tachileik .
However the mobile phone shop owner became suspicious as the boxes were very heavy and contacted the police to come in and check.
Police carefully examined the name and address of the recipient and sender. This revealed that all the boxes were sent by the same person in Chonburi province who listed the same mobile phone number on all of them.
Police then laid in wait for the recipient from Myanmar site to come and collect this consignment of war weapons.
Later a Mae Sai native, Mr. Manokon Suksorn, 30, drove up in a pickup truck to collect the six boxes. Police quickly arrested him and he said he was to drop off the boxes at the parking lot of Red Mine Company.
There police arrested Mr. Songsak Sirichai-rungruang, 31, who drove up in a van to take the boxes to Tachilek. However both suspects denied knowing that the boxes contained war weapons and thought they contained legal products.
Later at 1 p.m. today four more boxes arrived at Sak mobile shop and when police opened them they found 60 more K75 grenades neatly stashed within.
Police are expanding investigation of this cross-border arms smuggling and are now tracing the sender in Chonburi while having coordinated with Myanmar authorities to track down the recipient who had given his mobile phone number to both drivers.
Chiang Rai police examine the ammo and grenades, destined for Tachileik in Myanmar, that they seized over the past two days. Photos: Thai Rath