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Thai Border Patrol Raids Heroin Refinery

February 2, 1989

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ About 60 border patrol policemen raided a heroin refinery in the north and battled its defenders, forcing them to flee into the jungle, a border officer said Thursday.

Up to 30 men opened rifle fire on the policemen as they moved in on the refinery Wednesday in Chiang Rai province about 500 miles north of Bangkok, Police Maj. Gen. Kowit Wattana said.

He said fighting lasted for 20 minutes before the defenders retreated into the jungle. No casualties were reported.

Police seized 33 pounds of high-grade heroin, as well as two hand grenades and 1,200 rounds of ammunition. They also destroyed the refinery, where high- grade heroin was made from opium and lesser grades of heroin.

Kowit said the refinery was operated by Chinese Haw, one of several minority groups living in the hills of northern Thailand, which together with adjacent areas of Burma and Laos comprise the ″Golden Triangle.″ It is the world’s largest source of heroin.

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