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Thai drama director freed, Myanmar junta says he wasn’t kidnapped

 

THE Thai drama director held by Red Wa ethnic group at their stronghold in Myanmar since the beginning of this year with 24 million baht ransom demanded for his freedom was released by Myanmar junta troops today (August 9) but they said he was not kidnapped and had willingly gone to the Red Wa territory, Naewna newspaper said.

Going across the Thai Myanmar Friendship Bridge linking the Thai Mae Sai town in Chiang Rai province with Tachileik town in Myanmar in a van to bring back Mr. Ramai Moriphan, or Danny or Kru Dan, 40, a drama director and martial arts teacher for actors and actresses, were Col. Suthikhet Srininthin, head of Pha Muang Task Force division 3, and Pol. Col. Khemchat Wattanaphakasem, the provincial immigration superintendent, as well as officials from other agencies.

Myanmar officials had interrogated Ramai for a day and their account of what happened differs greatly from what his relatives had said and what was heard to have happened.

The Myanmar junta officials said he had willingly entered the Red Wa zone of influence and was not kidnapped with the reason for doing so being to get treatment for some symptoms he suffered.

They added that this incident had nothing to do with drug trafficking and that the Red Wa forces had handed him over to Myanmar troops on Sunday August 7.

However Thai officials said they had a photo of him being chained and a Red Wa fighter holding a pistol standing next to him.

Upon being brought back to Thai territory the officials did not follow the normal procedure of a medical test and interrogation at the checkpoint and immediately took him to a military camp for questioning.

However they did open the van’s door briefly during which Ramai gave a wai to those who had come to receive him.

CAPTIONS:

Top and Front Page: Ramai giving wai from the van after being brought to Mae Sai checkpoint from Tachileik in Myanmar. Both photos: Sanook.com


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