Thai Army Destroys Shan Rebel Houses

By Lawi Weng 27 August 2012

The Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) finally allowed the Thai Army to destroy 17 houses at the rebel’s headquarters in Loi Tai Laeng, eastern Shan State, on Thursday after a dispute regarding border encroachment, according to Shan sources.

Sai Sheng Murng, the deputy spokesman of the SSA–S, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that the Thai armed forces insisted on destroying the buildings after the rebels refused to do it themselves.

The houses belong to family members of the SSA-S and were built since its Loi Tai Laeng headquarters was established in 2007, according Sai Sheng Murng. However, the Thai Army later claimed that the structures encroached over the Thai side of the border.

Thai authorities showed a US-made map which put the land as belonging to Thailand, while the SSA-S thought the area belongs to them according to their British charts. Residents moved out of the houses earlier this year after the rebels reluctantly agreed that the land belong to Thailand, said the SSA-S.

This is not first time that the Thai Army has destroyed Shan property, according to the SSA-S. There were also two occasions in 2002 and 2003 when Shan people had to vacate houses as the Thai authorities claimed they were on the wrong side of the border.

But there is currently no tension between the Thai Army and Shan rebels over this issue, claims the SSA-S.

Similarly, Thailand even forced some ethnic Mon living in houses in the Halockhani camp for Internally Displaced Persons straddling the Thai-Burmese border to move in 1997 as their houses were located on the Thai side of the frontier. The area was controlled by the ethnic rebel New Mon State Party at the time.