The new and supposedly progressive government of Myanmar faces many challenges in throwing off the sordid past of 48 years of military tyranny. One deeply troubling heritage is the drug trade. Neighbours including Thailand have given President Thein Sein a long rope, but all agree that the long years of Myanmar drug trafficking must end.
The demand by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung that Myanmar extradite Na Kham Mwe is a curious part of separating Myanmar from its deep drug dependence.
Known in Thai as Nakammuay and Kammuay, Na Kham Mwe (the alias means "moustache") is officially wanted by the Thai government. There is a reward of 1 million baht for anyone who can help bring him to justice. Allegations that the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) is involved in drug smuggling stretch back to at least 2003. The recent challenge by the Burmese warlord to "inspect my camp" are meaningless, since he is a suspected trafficker and enabler, not a producer of methamphetamines.
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