19 May 2024

Karen rebel forces launched air attacks, using drones to bomb Myanmar government troops taking refuge near the second Thai-Myanmar friendship bridge in Mae Sot district of Tak province last night.

Thai troops, deployed at the bridge to prevent a possible spill-over of fighting onto Thai territory, immediately ordered members of the media to leave the area for their safety.

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of Myawaddy township, fighting continued throughout Friday night, despite the fall of the both township and the last Myanmar government military camp.

Myanmar government troops have retreated from the barracks of the 275th infantry battalion, which was captured by the combined forces of the Karen National Union and People’s Defence force.

Spokesman for the Myanmar troops, Zaw Minh Tun, told local media that troops had to abandon the camp and retreat toward the Thai-Myanmar second friendship bridge for the safety of their families.

Meanwhile, it is reported that, since the start of the battle for Myawaddy township last Saturday, the number of civilians from Myanmar applying for border passes to enter Thailand’s Mae Sot at the border checkpoint has risen from 3,000 to 4,000 per day.

The border passes allow Myanmar citizens to stay in Thailand for a maximum of seven days. Most stay with relatives living in Mae Sot, while others stay in the district’s hotels.

It is reported, however, that a number arrived in Mae Sot yesterday to celebrate the Songkran festival.

According to the Thai Real Estate Association, purchases of condominium units in Thailand by wealthy Myanmar citizens have increased significantly since last year, especially since February, when the Myanmar junta imposed mandatory military conscription for men aged 18-32 and women aged 18-27.

Myanmar citizens now own 564 condominium units in Thailand, worth a combined 3.7 billion baht.