South Korean NGOs “need to be more specific” about kidnappers’ identity



credit panglong news

Local sources in Tachilek told SHAN the South Korean NGOs who claim 64 North Koreans are being held by “rebels” in Tachilek, opposite Thailand’s Maesai, need to be clearer about the identity of their kidnappers.

“The sa-ya-pha (Military Affairs Security) and police officers all want to know who they are,” said a businessman. “But no one so far has been able to provide the information. It really is up to the South Korean NGOs to reveal their identity.”

According to AFP report, 13 July, the North Koreans, 80% of them women, have been held northeast of Tachilek over the past 9 years. The rebels, said Pastor Kim Hee-Tae, were asking for $ 5,000 ransom for each of the hostages. He also told AFP women were forced to work at alcohol manufacturing or drug processing plants and some into prostitution. Male captives meanwhile were used to grow poppies.

“For one thing, there is only one rebel group operating here,” said a local militia officer. “That is the United Wa State Army (UWSA). It has been permitted to run farms along the Mekong by the government for a long time.

“The Shan State Army (SSA) has not been active here for a long time,” he added. “And since they have just concluded ceasefire with the government, they still don’t have business concessions around here.”

Other groups active in the area are:

  • Border Guard Force (BGF) 1008 – One of its commanders Sai Long Marn, a former follower of the late Godfather Naw Kham, operates around Wantong, Mong Phong tract
  • Paliao People’s Militia Force (PMF), whose leader Ja Law aka Sai Long aka Zhang Xi, 50, is active around Nayao-Talerh
  • Inn Hseng aka Khin Maung Latt, of Mong Lane, who has been collecting taxes from gold-digging boats along the Lane river, a tributary of the Mekong (1 baht of gold for small boats per month and 20 baht from large boats)

Both the SSA and UWSA have denied knowledge of the hostages.

The Mekong, since the Chinese demolished its rapids a decade earlier, has been in use both for legal and illegal businesses.

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