Troops Closing In on Shan Drug Lord

Thai border troops and police are said to be closing in on Shan fugitive Naw Kham, an alleged drug lord who is wanted in Thailand, Burma, China and Laos for drug trafficking.

According to a local Thai language teacher, Naw Kham is thought to be hiding in Wiang Haeng District in northern Thailand. She said that an intensive search of Shan community residential areas began last week and that many local people were afraid of the soldiers.

The hunt for Naw Kham came after the Burmese army seized weapons, 350 kg of heroin and 217 million baht (US $6 million) in cash, following a clash with Naw Kham’s private militia in the Tachilek area. The attack appeared to be in response to an incident on February 18 when it is alleged Naw Kham’s troops opened fire on a Chinese cargo boat on the Mekong River, killing one crew member and injuring three.

After Burmese, Chinese and Laotian authorities combined to close in on Naw Kham, it is believed that he fled to Thailand because he owned a Thai citizenship card, said the source.

According to Khuensai Jaiyen, the editor of the Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN), based in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, China sent police to Tachilek Township in eastern Burma last week to apprehend Naw Kham. He added that the Chinese government also put pressure on the Burmese government to arrest him and called for Laotian border security guards to maintain a lookout for the fugitive.

Naw Kham is one of the highest profile drug lords of the Golden Triangle and reportedly commands a private militia of about 30 to 40 members. continue

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