Wa offers assistance in fake note scandal
A senior Wa official has promised full cooperation in the crackdown on Thai banknote forgers that reportedly originate from their own ranks.
“We caught and punished Wei Hsaitang for forging Chinese and Thai banknotes in 2002,” he reminded S.H.A.N. “We will not protect anybody who is engaging in such inexcusable activities.”
Wei Hsaitang, former commander of Mongyawn, opposite Chiangmai’s Mae Ai district, was reportedly released only last year following increased tensions between the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and Nay Pyi Taw.
A local police informant on the Thai-Burma border, interviewed last evening by TV Channel 3, said the counterfeit notes were manufactured by the “Red Wa”, a popular term for the UWSA, and that each 1,000 baht note was sold at B 350 ($10).
Channel 9 also reported that Chinese-made machines for checking watermarks are in great demand in Maesai, opposite Burma’s Tachilek. It used to be priced at B250-300 each before the scandal, but since has jumped two-fold.
A Thai security official said, according to a report, the fake notes had entered Burma from China through Mongla, 240km north of Maesai. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that they were produced by the Wa,” he told SHAN. “But we cannot eliminate the possibility right now.”
Forgers face life imprisonment and fake note spenders 1-15 years in jail in Thailand, according to Bangkok Post, 23 December issue.