REPORTS from the Thai-Myanmar border at Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province today (August 8) said the Red Wa ethnic group has released a drama director and martial arts teacher for actors and actresses held for 24 million baht ransom since the beginning of the year, Matichon newspaper and Sanook.com said.
Mr. Ramai Moriphan, or Danny or Kru Dan, 40, was detained at the United Wa State Army’s prison with his mother, Mrs. Kham Moriphan, having asked for help from many agencies to get him released.
According to the border reports United Wa State Army fighters had handed him over to Myanmar military officers at Tachileik town, opposite Mae Sai town, at 3 p.m. yesterday with the latter then detaining him.
Ramai was sent to Tachileik strategic headquarters for a physical checkup and it was found that he was still in good health.
The Myanmar officers then interrogated him about how he was detained by the Red Wa group.
Ramai said he had been tricked into crossing over to Tachileik and after that was caught by the Red Wa group and detained at their prison.
Myanmar officers said they will be questioning the kidnapped director for three days and would then send him across the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge to Mae Sai. It is not certain exactly when he will be released but it is expected to be tomorrow from 9 a.m. till noon.
However, his release by Red Wa to the Myanmar military has still to be confirmed as the Thai-Myanmar Coordinating Committee has not yet been informed by Myanmar officers about this development.
According to Wikipedia, the Red Wa is the most powerful organised crime gang in Thailand. The Red Wa come from Myanmar and they are associated with the United Wa State Army. They are composed of people from the Wa ethnic group and they work together with Chinese organised criminals in the drug trade.
The Red Wa control the methamphetamine trade in Thailand and neighbouring countries and are also known for being involved in the trafficking and sale of other drugs, mainly heroin.
Although they primarily focus on drug trafficking, groups associated with the United Wa State Army have also been involved in other crimes in order to protect their territory.
The Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge linking Mai Sai to Tachileik with an image of Mr. Ramai Moriphan inset, above, and another photo of the kidnapped drama director on the Front Page. Top photo: Sanook.com, Front Page photo: Matichon