“Druglord” denies he’s druglord

Lahu militia leader Yishay, wanted in Thailand on drug charges, recently denied charges by Thai drug enforcement against him, according to interviews conducted by SHAN.

Thailand has put up a 5 million baht ($ 166,166) reward for information leading to his capture. It has also demanded during township border level meetings, held monthly alternatively in Maesai and Tachilek, that Burmese authorities hand him over to be tried under Thai laws.

“Burmese authorities however say to catch Yishay is not a problem,” a Thai officer told SHAN. “The problem is that they need sufficient evidence against him.”

Yishay, 67, defacto leader of the Nampong (Hot Springs) People’s Militia Force (PMF), insists he is innocent. “All my businesses are legal,” he challenges. “You can come and see for yourself.”

Wilson Moe (Photo: tachileik.net)
The nominal leader of Nampong PMF is Wilson Moe, who doubles as Upper House representative for Tachilek. Also known as Chaiwat Pornsakulpaisarn in Thailand, he has not been seen in the kingdom since his home in Chiangmai’s Sansai district was raided by Thai authorities in 2003. A lieutenant-colonel in the now defunct Mong Tai Army (MTA) of the late Khun Sa (1934-2007), he is more commonly known in Thailand as Phan Tho (lieutenant-colonel) Yishay, to differentiate him from other Yishays.

Asked whether he was concerned about his safety living in Tachilek, just across from Maesai, he replied in the negative. “My only worry is that the Shans, or the Wa, eager to gain credit with the Thais, will abduct me and deliver me to them.”

Both the Shan State Army (SSA) South and the United Wa State Army (UWSA) have established offices in Tachilek.

Thai media reports have pointed fingers at him for most of this year’s drug seizures made in Thailand. “The Wa are happy,” said a Shan businessman. “Because the focus, unlike in the past, is moving away from them.”


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