April is the End of Summer: Different races in Thailand

Thailand’s government consists solely of Thais, with no place for Chinese or Malays – the two biggest minority groups.

September 1967

ABC Press Release notepaper

DIFFERENT RACES IN THAILAND

Thailand’s government consists solely of Thais, with no place for Chinese or Malays – the two biggest minority groups.

Communist penetration is already serious in the North Eastern provinces close to Laos, and potentially dangerous in the Northern hills, where 200,000 primitive tribesmen live. They’re now the target of a cautious “hearts and minds” campaign designed to win their support for the government in Bangkok. Just under half the tribesmen grow opium, and they are at the source of the opium trail which spreads out through Burma, Thailand and Laos to Hong Kong and Singapore and finally, to markets in Europe and the United States.

A man in a white t-shirt and a military cap walks past a row of bombs
B52 bombers being loaded with their bombs at the American air base at Utapac.

Engaged in the trade are the remnants of the Kuo Min Tang army which left China some 20 years ago, but are still uniformed and well disciplined as they travel through the Northern Hills and into Burma on opium buying missions.

The Thai government has set out to suppress the drug traffic, partly because of pressure from the United States but also because of evidence that young Thais, who were never attracted by opium, have taken to heroin. Two Chinese, found manufacturing heroin in Bangkok, were executed without trial as a demonstration by the generals of their determination to wipe out the drug rings.

A man in military uniform stands by the side of an aircraft, with three women facing him
The Governor of Sakol-Nakol, with his female militia.
Men sat on the ground with the hands held in a prayer style
Villagers mourning at a funeral.

In the Northeast, the threat of Communist infiltration is very real. Headmen of villages have been murdered and acts of terror are being reported daily. Incidents involving Communist bands and government troops and police have doubled in the last 12 months.

Much of the blame for the upsurge of Communism is placed by the Government on the 40,000 Vietnamese who live in the North Eastern provinces close to the borders of Laos and Cambodia. Many of them came from Indo-China after the Second World War when the Viet Minh rebellion broke out. Ho Chi himself lived there in the twenties, disguised as a Buddhist monk, he roamed through the area, seeking support for his revolutionary movement.

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