“Godfather” Naw Kham who has been under “hot pursuit” by the Burma Army since February 2009, is reportedly fingered as the mastermind of the recent attack on the Burmese police boats while they were returning from visiting a nearby village on the Mekong near the Golden Triangle, according to local sources from the border.
The said attack which took place on Saturday 20 February, at Pu Zien island between Hsarm Pu and Pahsa villages, Mongphong tract, Tachilek township, killed 13 of the Burmese police men and left 2 injured. The two are currently under treatment at Tachilek’s Public Hospital, said a source in Tachilek.
Among the 13 men were police officer Khin Maung Yin and his deputy Sein Hlaing.
The police were apparently lured into an ambush. As the police boats came downstream, there was an identified boat with a man carrying weapons appeared in front and headed towards the said island. The police followed him to the island where a number of ambushers were lying in wait.
“As soon as, the police arrived on the island, they were mowed down by the attackers who fired from all sides,” he said.
This attack is said to be the bloodiest since the 1967 Opium War between Khun Sa and the ex-KMT.
However, different versions have named different culprits.
The Burma Army believed it was the handiwork of Yawd Serk led Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’, according to a senior Thai army officer. A different version pointed Lao soldiers as the culprits.
Naw Kham has been hunted by the Burma Army following the shootings at a Chinese cargo ship on the Mekong on 18 February 2009.
He was a former officer in the late Khun Sa’s Mong Tai Army (MTA), surrendered with his boss to become a militia leader in Tachilek in 1996. Ten years later, he went underground, following a raid that resulted in seizure of a large amount of arms and drugs. He has since been running a protection racket in the Golden Triangle area, where Burma’s Shan State, Laos and Thailand meet.