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Burma's Wa Army Leader Denies Assassination Plot On Thai PM - 2003-03-17


The leader of Burma's ethnic Wa army has denied reports he plotted to assassinate Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra because of lost revenue in drug trading.

The Nation newspaper quotes Bao Youxiang as dismissing charges he hired a hit man to kill Prime Minister Thaksin in exchange for nearly two million dollars. The leader of the United Wa State Army says the reports are groundless rumors and that his group does not have the capacity to carry out such an operation.

An aggressive anti-drugs campaign has reduced the trafficking of methamphetamines into Thailand. Police say it has also led to the deaths of about 15-hundred people -- many of them traffickers killed by drug dealers aiming to silence their associates.

Thailand has accused the Wa army of drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle border region between Thailand, Burma and Laos.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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