After Naw Kham, there’s Punako

Business sources SHAN has talked to have rejected Thai drug czar’s claim that after drug “godfather” Naw Kham was arrested on 25 April, the one most worth watching is Yishay, leader of the Nampong People’s Militia Force (PMF) in Tachilek, opposite Thailand’s Maesai.

“They’d do better to watch the Punako PMF (led by Ja Ngoi and Ai Long),” said a businessman who is visiting the border. “Because, when it comes to production and exporting of drugs into Thailand, Punako is bigger than Nampong.”

Naw Kham, Yi Shay and Nakhanmway

Punako (Monghsat township) lies west of Nampong (Tachilek township). The road that branches out from Mongtoom on the Monghsat-Tachilek road is guarded by the Burma Army’s two light infantry battalions: 553 and 554.

Its leaders Ja Ngoi and Ai Long are well known to the Thai drug enforcement, Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB). Ironically, it was the ONCB boss Police General Adul Saengsingkaew himself who told Kham Chad Leuk Daily, Yishay, and neither Ai Long nor Ja Ngoi, is being under surveillance after Naw Kham was nabbed in Laos.

As for Yi Shay, 66, whose Thai name is Chaiwat Pornsakulpaisarn, he is bigger than his Punako counterparts in the sense that he is more educated and is well-connected in Burma’s hi-so circle. His nephew, Wilson Moe, 37, is also a Member of Parliament in the National Assembly, according to the sources.

Thailand, on 20 April, had announced a 12 million baht ($ 400,000) bounty for 25 people suspected of drug smuggling including:

  • Naw Kham 2,000,000 baht ($ 66,666)
  • Yi Shay 1,000,000 baht ($ 33,333)
  • Nakhanmway 1,000,000 baht ($ 33,333)

Nakhanmway aka Saw La Pwe, leader of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) that, in November 2011, had signed a ceasefire agreement with Naypyitaw, has rejected Thailand’s allegations against him.


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