In Thailand, the government has increased the number of military personnel at the Thai-Lao border following an increase in the number of Laotian Meo Hill people crossing into Thailand.
Thai soldiers looking across border into Laos (2 shots)
GV Construction camp for workers building new road
SV INTERIOR Camp, soldier cooking, others eating (2 shots)
GV Road under construction. Two earthmovers standing idle at side of road
CU Trucks wrecked during alleged insurgents' attack (3 shots)
SV Soldiers carry supplies on backs to outposts
CU Soldier on guard with workers in background
Workers and armed soldiers along road
CU Mr. Charan Chao and wife, leaders of unit both armed, sitting by road watching workers (3 shots)
SV Construction workers digging ditch guarded by armed guards (2 shots)
GV Road under construction PAN TO workers pouring cement at side of road
SV Workers carrying buckets containing concrete ZOOM INTO gun and handgrenade lying at side of road
Workers laying cement with buckets
SV armed guard with workers in background
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Background: In Thailand, the government has increased the number of military personnel at the Thai-Lao border following an increase in the number of Laotian Meo Hill people crossing into Thailand. The tribal people are opposed to Communist rule in Loas, and those crossing into Thailand have alleged airborne attacks against them, and the use of poison gas by the Laotian airforce.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of Meo tribesmen have fled into northeast The ???land and live in refugee camps near the border. But there are reports that two to three thousand Meo people are still fighting against Lao forces. The Thai government -- already concerned about thousands of Kampuchean (Cambodian) refugees in the country have recently increased the number of personnel at the Lao-Thai border in order to stop the influx of Meo refugees.
The Thais claim that these trucks were wrecked during an attack by insurgents two months ago. And they report that the continuing problems in the border area are interfering with important construction projects. The Thai government hopes that the increased presence of the military will allow workers to get on with road building, and stop the battle between the Meo tribesmen and the Lao army from spilling into Thailand.
The Laotian government claims that almost all Meo rebels have given up their struggle. But Meo spokesmen in several camps in Thailand insist that resistance to the Lao government continues. More than seventy thousand Meos have fled to Thailand since 1975 and forty thousand are still awaiting resettlement. But for Mr. Charan Chao and his wife, in charge of this construction unit, the main concern is getting the job done without danger to their crew.
This spring marked the first official to Thailand by the Laotian Prime Minister Kaysone Phomvihane since his government took power in 1975. Discussions included the influx of Laotian refugees into Thailand. The Meo tribesmen have continuously resisted attempts by Phomvihane's government to put an end to their autonomous existence.
At the end of May more than thirty Meo tribesmen died when Laotian soldiers opened fire as they tried to escape across the Mekong River from Laos to Thailand. And now the tribesmen will meet an increased border guard in Thailand if they do manage to cross.