Yilai: Another lieutenant of Naw Kham

MONDAY, 03 SEPTEMBER 2012 11:17 S.H.A.N.

One of the three prime suspects who are going on trial in China for the 5 October killing of 13 Chinese sailors on the Golden Triangle is Yilai or Yin Lang as the Chinese pronounce his name.

According to the former Mong Tai Army (MTA) fighters of the late Khun Sa (1934-2007), once dubbed “Lord of the Golden Triangle”, Yilai, age around 56-60, used to be the leader of the Nahai Long People’s Militia Force (PMF) in Mong Lane tract, Talerh sub-township, Tachilek district.He had joined the MTA and, after the MTA surrendered, worked with the Shan State Army (SSA) South. That was until he was recruited by Naw Kham, following the latter’s establishment as a protection racket in the Golden Triangle, where Laos, Burma and Thailand in 2006, taxing drug smugglers going across the Mekong into Laos.

“Yilai has a nice home in Tambon Pa Mued (in Maesai),” said an SSA officer, who had also served in the MTA. “You don’t need to ask me where he got the money to build it.”

Yilai and Chamras Phacharoen aka Olarn Somphongphand (incorrectly written Chamras Somphongphand aka Olarn Phacharoen by several papers, according to his childhood friends in Maesai), better known as Pu Nuad, had planned the killing of the sailors and planted 920,000 speed pills  to implicate Zhao Wei, the owner of the Kings Romans casino in Laos’ Tonpheung, opposite Thailand’s Chiang Saen.

“It is still a mystery who masterminded the operation,” said a businessman. “Because Naw Kham, Yilai and Pu Nuad were unlikely to have strong motives to incriminate Zhao Wei.”

The 5 October killing followed the joint Sino-Laotian raid on the casino in September, when 20 sacks of drugs were netted, according Thailand’s deputy prime minister Chalerm Yubamroong. There were no reports that Zhao was taken action by the authorities, following the raid.

9 Thai military officers are also being charged with involvement in the killing.

One result, as quoted by the Irrawaddy from the Chinese nationalistic website junshi.com, is the establishment of “China’s first military base abroad” in Moung Meung, Bokeo Province in Laos.

The two other suspects to be put on trial are Naw Kham, who was captured Laos on 25 April, and Hsang Kham, who was arrested in Thailand on 20 April. Yilai was nabbed in Laos earlier.