Thais claim their village does not belong to Myanmar

19 April 2015
Thais claim their village does not belong to Myanmar
Members of the 'Jit Arsa', or Volunteer Spirit, group are marching 500 kms from Chumphon to the Foreign Ministry in Bangkok to call on the government to reassert Thai sovereignty over their village. Photo: Bangkok Post

To a group of Thai villagers, Ban Inthanin Kwang is where they call home. Residents of the settlement, on the banks of the Kra Buri River, say the village is located in Moo 9 of tambon Jor Por Ror in Ranong’s Kra Buri district, along the Thai-Myanmar border, reports the Bangkok Post on April 19. 
But Thai officials say Ban Inthanin Kwang is actually in Myanmar, and have rejected calls to claim back the land. 
“Ban Inthanin Kwang is located on the other side of Kra Buri River,” said Muang district chief Tnit Kulsungorn, citing an agreement made by Thailand and Myanmar in 1868. 
“The village is under the sovereignty of the Myanmar government. Ranong province is acting in accordance with what the map suggests.” 
The village became the focus of a diplomatic incident in 2012, following a border dispute that saw Myanmar soldiers arrest 92 Thai residents. Mr Tnit was chief of Kra Buri district at the time. 
Shortly after the incident, villagers demanded the Foreign Ministry help resolve the problem, but nothing has happened since. 
On April 14, three activists from the village began a 500km trek from Chumphon to Bangkok to demand the government reclaim their home town. 
Pitthaya Boonthawee, Somporn Kladsaeng and Prathuang Klomsook are expected to arrive at the Foreign Ministry within the next two weeks and will hand in a petition on the issue. They say the village has belonged to Thailand since ancient times.