YANGON (The Nation/Asia News Network): The Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) has threatened to close the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridges in Tak’s Mae Sot district if Thailand suspends electricity supplies to the casino town of Shwe Kokko in Karen state.
The threat came after the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) informed Tak governor Somchai Kitchareanrungroj about the decision to cut electricity to Shwe Kokko at the request of Myanmar’s military regime.
Shwe Kokko, which lies just over the border from Mae Sot, is a notorious criminal hub of gambling, online scams and trafficking financed by Chinese tycoons and controlled by the Karen BGF.
Myanmar’s decision to end the contract with PEA came after China’s ambassador urged the regime to step up efforts to combat cross-border crime, online fraud and gambling.
Mae Sot police superintendent Colonel Monsak Kaew-on confirmed that the contract to deliver electricity across the border from Tak's Mae Ramat and Mae Sot districts expires on Monday (June 5).
He added that Shwe Kokko is run by Chinese tycoons, noting that many Thais and foreigners are employed in the town.
The Karen BGF has prepared backup electricity to replace the Thai supply, he said. However, he expects residents of Shwe Kokko to be affected by the electricity suspension after two or three days.
He said provincial police, soldiers and security officials are preparing to deal with an influx of Myanmar people and foreign workers after supplies are cut.
Myanmar people arriving at the border would be asked to return to their country while foreigners would face legal action, he added.