Wa supplies returned after signing a new ceasefire contract

FRIDAY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2011 17:24 HSENG KHIO FAH

A thousand bags of rice which have been blocked by the Burmese military for 2 years were reportedly returned to the Untied Wa State Army (UWSA), after a new ceasefire agreement was reached between the two sides early in the month, according to sources from the UWSA.

The rice blockade was said to have been lifted a few days ago, but other goods are not seen coming yet, said a Wa officer who asked not to be named.

“They should have been returned a long time ago,” he said.

But some said they [the rice bags] were a part of support given by the new government as it was done since 1989 until 2009. At that time, the UWSA reportedly received four thousands bags of rice, 300 cans of petrol oil and an unspecified amount of money per year.

But following the rejection by the UWSA to the Border Guard Force (BGF) program spelled out in April 2009, the Burmese military regime had blocked all supplies not only the rice but also other goods entering into areas of the Untied Wa State Army (UWSA) control.

Xiao Minliang

Bao Youliang

Zhao Guo-ang

Ai long

Li Julie aka U Aung Myint

Bao Ai Roong

Bao Samrai

Hsai Tao

Two years after, the two finally had come to make a new 4-point ceasefire agreement on 6 September: No hostilities between the two sides, to reopen liaison offices on both sides; to inform each other in advance if one side is entering the other side’s territory carrying arms and to form a joint coordination committee for regional development as soon as possible.

Its ally National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) signed a similar agreement in Kengtung on the next day.

The group [UWSA] and government’s negotiators are scheduled to meet again on 1 October, in Shan State North’s Lashio, headquarters of the North Eastern Region Command (NERC). The Wa delegation left its headquarters Panghsang on Thursday. There has been no information from its ally NDAA yet.

“They are expected to talk about regional development and the returning of the government’s personnel,” said one of the Wa top officer.

The Wa side has 10 members led by Xiao Minliang, vice chairman of UWSA, which includes Bao Youliang, brother of UWSA’s Chairman Bao Youxiang and Zhao Guo-ang, who is in charge of the UWSP’s external relations; Ai Long, deputy commander of the UWSA, Li Julie aka U Aung Myint, spokesperson and   commanders of the three brigades facing the Burma Army forces: Bao Ai Roong, 318th Brigade, Northern sector, Bao Samrai, 618th Brigade, Western sector and Hsai Tao, 418th Brigade, Southern sector.

The government side is expected to have Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) Secretary Aung Thaung and House Peacekeeping Committee Chairman Thein Zaw and Khun Htun Lu, Chairman of Wa Democratic Party (WDP), who doubles as Chairman of the newly formed Wa Special Administrative Division.

Home of Golden Triangle Godfather’s suspected partner raided

The home in Maesai, opposite Tachilek, of Jamras Phacharoen, better known as Pu Nuad (“Moustache”), believed to be a close associate of Naw Kham, head of the protection racket in the Golden Triangle, was raided by joint Thai and Burmese officials yesterday, according to sources from the Thai-Burma border.

naw-kham11Naw Kham

It was reportedly in connection with the drug bust in Laos’ Kings Romans Casino on Monday, 26 September, by Laotian and Chinese officials. The operation had netted 20 sacks of drugs, B 50 million ($1.7 million) and a number of suspects including 6 Thais, according to Thailand’s deputy prime minister Chalerm Yubamroong.

The said Thais were said to be followers of Pu Nuad, who had also been running the gaming operations at the casino.

Pu Nuad, about 58, is a native of Maesai. He is married to a Shan, a native of Kengtung’s Mongyang township. He is also the chairperson of the Chao Khrua Tai (Tai Race) Society.

The officials did not find him at his home in Tambon Pamued Soi 3. (Correction: He was at home, but nothing incriminating was found.)

Pu Nuad was said to have served as a go between after a group of gunmen, believed to be members of Naw Kham’s racket, kidnapped 19 Chinese workers from the casino compound on 4 April.

Three of Naw Kham’s men are also under Thai police custody, after they had sought medical treatment in Thailand in the wake of a shootout with joint Burmese-Lao security forces on 22 September. Burmese authorities have demanded they be extradited to Burmese territory.

Kings Romans in Tonpheung, Bokeo Province, Laos, is owned by Zhao Wei, a native of Helongjiang province, China. He had for a number of years operated the Landong casino in Mongla, in the territory controlled by the ceasefire group National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) of Sai Leun aka Lin Mingxian.

As for Naw Kham, he has been successfully evading the clutches of law enforcement officers from Burma, Laos, Thailand and China since he went underground following the raid of his home in Tachilek on 10 January 2006. The raid resulted in the capture of “countless number of methamphetamine tablets, the amount, if sold, could have bought the whole town,” according to local militia sources.

Since then ships plying the Mekong and drug smugglers crisscrossing it have been paying protection to him. “I hope no one catches him,” said a local villager. “He has been really good to us.”