Sai Aung Myat who is reported to have carried out the execution of 13 Chinese sailors near the Golden Triangle on 5 October 2011 has denied he had anything to do with the victims, according to a source close to his family.
He was interrogated for two days, 7-8 August, by a team of Chinese investigators which included the ambassador and the police chief of Xixuangbanna (Sibsongpanna) Tai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan province in Kengtung. The interrogation sessions were arranged by the regional Military Affairs Security (MAS).
Also interrogated was Sai Tun Kala, another member of the erstwhile Mekong protection racket led by Sai Naw Kham, who was captured in Laos on 25 April, and is now under custody in Xixuangbanna. Both Chinese and Thai papers have quoted Chinese officials as saying he has confessed to the murders.
Some of his followers, including Sai Aung Myat, later surrendered to the Burma Army in Tachilek.
“Burmese authorities, in rejecting Chinese request to extradite him, said Aung Myat, unlike his boss, was not captured but had voluntarily surrendered and thus was entitled to the privilege,” said the source.
His wife, Nang Awn, a native of Sarmpu village on the Mekong, is reportedly in Rangoon to solicit for his speedy release.
Sai Naw Kham, a former officer in the now defunct Mong Tai Army led by the late Khun Sa and later a militia leader in Tachilek, had run a protection racket on the Mekong, 2006-2011, demanding payments for drugs going across the river and boats plying its waters near the Golden Triangle, where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet.
“His capture has now led to a free for all for drug traffickers,” said a Shan businessman in the area to SHAN.
Latest information says he was interrogated from 09:00-21:00 yesterday. The Chinese officials claimed he was not a Burmese national and therefore should be extradited. Burmese officials, as a result, are coming down to Tachilek today to check the official records there.