Myanmar border alert for gun smuggling

Myanmar border alert for gun smuggling

A soldier stands guard at the border with Myanmar in Mae Sot district of Tak. (File photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
A soldier stands guard at the border with Myanmar in Mae Sot district of Tak. (File photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

Security agencies have been instructed to again step up vigilance along the border with Myanmar, this time to prevent weapons smuggling.

Defence spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich said on Tuesday the instruction came from Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and followed recent reports of arms dealers smuggling military-grade weapons to Myanmar, where fighting between the ruling junta and rebels has intensified.

Lt Gen Kongcheep said Gen Prawit had instructed that security intelligence agencies concentrate on obtaining information on the sources of weapons, transport routes and financial transaction channels used by the smugglers.

The recent arrests of arms smugglers in Sattahip district in Chon Buri revealed connections with people in several circles, including state officials. He said the investigation had been expanded, but would not give details.

Lt Gen Kongcheep quoted Gen Prawit as saying that Thailand does not support use of violence in any form in Myanmar. He had ordered military, police and administrative personnel to step up security at their weapons, ammunition and explosives depots to prevent theft.

Gen Prawit wanted units where weapons had been stolen to investigate further, find those responsible and retrieve the stolen weapons as soon as possible, before they were used for violence, the defence spokesman said.

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