A Thai stunt director who had been imprisoned since January by one of Myanmar’s ethnic armies has been released yesterday. The Burmese junta army had captured the director, 40 year old Ramai Moriphan, known as ‘Khru Dan’, when he travelled from Laos to Myanmar for a business trip on January 4.
He and two friends had arrived in Myanmar’s Shan State on the pretence of meeting a Burmese movie investor. As they waited for the investor, who did not show up, the Burmese army arrested them, and they were later imprisoned by the United Wa State Army. The UWSA is made up of people from Myanmar’s Wa ethnic group, one of the country’s several ethnic groups embattled in conflict. The UWSA has a known history of drug and crime involvement.
The Burmese army had captured Khru Dan and his friends claiming that they had swindled 24 million baht from the army’s leader to buy drugs. The army is insisting that Khru Dan was not kidnapped, and he willingly entered the Red Wa territory. They army says that the incident had nothing to do with drug trafficking.
Reports from Thai media have said that the Burmese army claimed that Khru Dan had gone to the territory to “get treatment for some symptoms he suffered”. The army had demanded 24 million baht ransom for his release, although it has not been reported whether anyone has paid the demanded ransom.
Khru Dan has now been brought back to Thailand, and was to be questioned by officials.