Junta Seeks Thai Help in Crackdown on Armed Groups Operating Along Myanmar-Thai Border

By The Irrawaddy 13 June 2022

Myanmar junta police chief Major General Zin Min Htet flew to Bangkok last week to discuss the issue of armed groups operating along the Myanmar-Thai border with his Thai counterpart, regime media reported on Sunday.

Newly-appointed Maj-Gen Zin Min Htet, who is also the junta’s deputy home affairs minister, visited Thailand on June 6-7, meeting chief of the Royal Thai Police Suwat Jangyodsuk and holding the first work committee meeting on prevention of cross-border crime.

Both sides agreed to boost cooperation on border security and the rule of law, counter-terrorism, fighting the drug trade, human trafficking and cross-border smuggling, according to junta newspapers.

At the top of the agenda were the illegal arms trade, smuggling, counter-terrorism and cross-border crime, said the military regime. The two sides also discussed cooperation in human resources development and police training, as well as discussing a memorandum of understanding between the two police forces and signing a six-point agreement for future cooperation.

Junta media said the pair discussed taking action against the armed groups operating along the Myanmar-Thai border, claiming they undermine the interests of both countries, but the Royal Thai Police press release said the two sides only discussed signing a memorandum of understanding on fighting cross-border crime.

The regime did not mention the names of the armed groups based along the border. However, it has labelled the parallel National Unity Government and its armed wing the People’s Defense Forces as terrorist organizations. Chinese gambling and drug gangs are also operating along the frontier in Karen State.

Last month, a junta delegation led by Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant-General Soe Htut also visited Thailand and discussed bilateral cooperation to fight the drug trade with the Thai justice minister. The delegation also met officials of the Royal Thai Police and discussed stopping the smuggling of chemicals used in drug production into the Golden Triangle region, the control of the drug trade and the cross-border arrest of fugitives.

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