February 2003

Dictator Watch has been given credible information that the Burmese Army has established a base in Thailand, approximately 1.5 kilometers inside the border. Reportedly, the base is not on a border mountain, where one side is Thailand and the other is Burma, but on a mountain wholly on the Thai side. The base, which is believed to still be occupied - at the time of this report's release - is at a site known as Mei Pee Ya, where internally displaced persons formally took refuge. It has now been taken by the Burmese army, is said to barrack some fifty troops, and has heavy armaments including 60mm and 82mm mortars.

The sources of the report have requested anonymity, for reasons that should be obvious. Below one can find maps that will lead any interested parties to the area. If you do make the trip, we would suggest exercising the greatest caution.

To get to the base one must travel west from Bangkok to Ratchaburi (less than two hours drive), then continue west towards the border to Suan Phung (another hour on Route 3208), then further west on Route 3087. About four kilometers out of Suan Phung turn left at the sign for Baw Klung Hot Springs (Ban Bo Khlung), which are an additional ten kilometers away.

As you come to the Hot Springs (they are a well know tourist destination), there is a police box on the left, after which a dirt road leads off, also to the left. Follow the dirt road over a hill to Wei Pa Karen Buddhist Village. Then proceed through the village and continue straight past another road (which leads to Wei Pa Karen Christian Village), and a lake. After passing a sizable pasture on the left, a trail leads away up into the mountains. It is an eight hour walk to the base. You will need a local guide to find it.

Note: Mei Pee Ya mountain is distinct from Mei Pee Ya Kee, which is a different site, on a river, and which is inside Burma.

One might question if this is significant, that the Burmese Army has made an encroachment in such a wild area. In response, we must note that the Thai government has pledged an unyielding commitment to preserve Thai terrirorial sovereignty. We therefore ask the Thai government, and the Thai 9th Infantry Division, which is responsible for the area, to confirm this report. The 9th Infantry Division is more regularly known for forcing defenseless refugees and democracy activists back into Burma, where they face hardship if not imprisonment and death. Perhaps it is time that it fulfills its real mission, to defend Thailand from territorial threats, the greatest of which is no doubt the armed forces of the Burmese dictatorship.