A GUNFIGHT between Thai troops and a drug trafficking gang at the Thai-Myanmar border in Chiang Rai province last night (May 27) left nine drug runners dead with 2.4 million methamphetamine pills seized, Matichon newspaper said.
Maj. Gen. Supharek Sathapornphon, commander of Pha Muang Task Force, together with Col. Suthikhet Srininthin, commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Special Task Force, and Lt. Col. Chakrabongse Sotsi, commander of the 1st Control Squadron of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Special Task Force, as well as other senior officers inspected the site of the clash near Lisae village in Mae Fah Luang subdistrict, Mae Fah Luang district, this afternoon.
They said they had been tipped off that there would be an attempt to smuggle drugs to Thailand from the neighbouring country in this area with the 1st Control Squadron sending in troops to intercept the traffickers.
At 10.15 p.m. they spotted 10 men walking in the border area and upon asking to search the rucksacks they were carrying they instead opened fire leading to a shootout lasting 10 minutes after which guns fell silent.
Eight more operational units were then sent in to encircle the area and it was at 5:40 a.m. that the troops moved in and found the nine dead drug runners and 12 rucksacks filled with a total of 2.4 million meth pills.
Officials said the Muser group encamped in the Myanmar side of the border opposite Lisae village often transport drugs to Thailand when troops are otherwise engaged. Their destination was not known but the large amount of drug was likely being taken to a safehouse not far from the border after which drug traffickers in inner areas of Thailand would come to collect it.
Soldiers inspecting the border are where a gunfight with drug traffickers took place last night. Photos: Matichon