Three Drug Suspects Arrested After Shootout

By Htun Htun 3 August 2017

YANGON — Three men who shot at police from their car as officers attempted to carry out a routine search in Karen State were arrested and their haul of a weapons and drugs was confiscated on Monday, according to police.

Police tried to stop the car in Kawkareik Township, but the men drove away, firing from the car, until a police car caught up and forced them to stop, said police sub-lieutenant Nay Htet Oo, who did not participate in the arrest.

One M16 rifle, three loaded magazines, a grenade with a fuse, 1,000 methamphetamine pills stamped with the letters WY, and a baseball cap bearing the logo PC were seized, added the sub-lieutenant.

At the time of reporting, it was not known if any injuries were sustained by any of the parties involved.

The car was heading from Kyone Doe Township, though the three men—Saw Hti Kwe, Ye Min, and Saw Aung Myint—are from Noe Hti Lel village in Kawkareik Township, according to police, adding that they have been remanded in custody.

“We got a cap with the ‘PC’ logo along with the firearms in the seizure. We are still investigating the case, and we are not yet clear if armed groups are involved in this,” Nay Htet Oo told The Irrawaddy.

It was not verified whether the baseball cap belongs to the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC).

The splinter group was formed after the former KNLA Brigade 7 Commander Maj-Gen Saw Htay Maung was dismissed by the KNU for initiating peace talks with the Myanmar Army without the approval of the KNU central committee in 2007.

Maj-Gen Saw Htay Maung signed a peace deal with the military regime the same year and transformed Brigade 7 into the KNU/KNLA-PC.

Tun Nyein, a spokesperson of KNU/KNLA-PC, said government authorities have not yet contacted them about the seizure, but they were aware of it because of pictures widely shared on social media.

“There are many people who take advantage of the PC. There have been such cases in the past. If it is true, we’ll take actions against them,” Tun Nyein told The Irrawaddy.

In May, a police corporal was killed in a shooting when a group of gunmen grabbed an accused female drug dealer in Kawkareik Township as she was being returned from her trial in Hpa-an District Court.

The drug dealer is still at large, although one suspect involved in the shooting and six other alleged accomplices were arrested.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.