Burmese Gem Smuggling is Part of Border Life

MAE SOT, Thailand – The futility of stopping smuggled goods coming into Thailand hits you like the proverbial two-by-four in the face when you look across the Moi River into Myanmar

The Friendship Bridge has a constant stream of pedestrian traffic, and at least as many people are crossing the river on inner tubes or in small boats. And in the dry season the two months both sides of New Years many just wade through the knee-deep water.

The Thai military keeps an eye on the movement but makes no effort to stop the traffic. The Thai immigration net starts with a check point nearly 10 kilometers (six miles) inside the country. And at that point they are more concerned with people entering illegally than the movement of goods.

And the crossing into Mae Sot is only one spot along the 2,107-kilometer

(1,309.8-mile) border.

Thai law requires import duty on … Read More

Read More