The BurmaNet News: Monday, January 23, 1995
There is an saying that "you can't keep a good man down." Neither, it seems, can you keep a bad one down. The previous article (about the Naresuan force in Thailand) bears the fingerprints of Thai businessman cum policy-maker Xuwicha Hiranyaprueck. Xuwicha, a close aid to and sometime proxy for Thai National Security Council chief Charan Kullawanich, has become visible again in Thai policy-making after a period of enforced hibernation. His currently focus is on "counter- narcotics" work, hence Naresuan force for which he is reportedly seeking American help in funding. Xuwicha's current focus on counter-narcotics seems somewhat ironic given the nature of some reports about Xuwicha's previous business transactions involving products from Laos.
Xuwicha's reemergence is not entirely unwelcome as he tends to make crystal clear what is objectionable about Thailand's policy vis-a-vis Burma. It isn't so much his dubious counter-narcotics credentials but rather, his willingness to advance Thai foreign policy goals by putting refugees in harm's way. The Neresuan force, by way of example, has shown every bit as much prowess at turning away Shan refugees and escaped porters fleeing the Burmese army as it has against Khun Sa's men. At present, the Thai government is also quietly attempting to force relief agencies to stop giving food aid to an ABSDF camp near Prachuab Khiri Khan in southern Thailand, which is but one more in a series of attempts to force a general repatriation of exiled students to Burma.
Xuwicha dropped out of sight after August 1994 after his growing name recognition became a liability for his boss, Gen. Charan. One instance of his outliving his usefulness came during a an attempt to pressure Mon rebels to sign a cease-fire. He helicoptered up to Pa Yaw refugee camp in August 1994 to demand that the refugees from Halockanie camp (which had recently been attacked by the Burmese army) return to Burma. Among the threats Xuwicha made then was to have New Mon State Party leader Naing Shwe Kyin and others arrested if they did not sign a cease-fire with the SLORC. Although Naing Shwe Kyin snubbed Xuwicha by refusing to meet with him face to face, the Mon leader did intervene to restrain one of his deputies who wanted to shoot the voluble Thai businessman. Of the incident, an Australian observer later quipped, "it would have been emotionally satisfying for about 15 minutes, but it wouldn't have been a very constructive engagement."
One week after the Pa Yaw incident, the Mon broke off cease-fire talks with SLORC and a day later, announced they would blow up the Total/Unocal pipeline which SLORC proposes to run through Mon territory.
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