‘We thank the Thai king and queen. They gave a place to us,’ a villager from Ban Mai Samakee said.
Kachin people living in Thailand’s Chiang Mai province planted more than 900 trees to mark the Thai queen’s birthday on August 12.
The Kachin community of Ban Mai Samakee in Chiang Dao district planted the trees on Htam Ngop Majoi hill in nearby Fang district. The hill was once a military camp of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) forces between 1965 and 1975.
The trees, representatives of Ban Mai Samakee said, are a gesture of gratitude to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and to his wife, Queen Sirikit Kitiyakara, who turned 87 years old on Monday.
“We thank the Thai king and queen. They gave a place to us. The Thai king and the Thai government welcomed us when our general commanding officer was alive,” Hkawng Hawng, who lives in Ban Mai Samakee village, told KNG.
Hkawng Hawng is a former KIA soldier who worked under the first command headed by Lahtaw Zau Seng. He added that some ex-KIA soldiers aided the Thai army in fighting a communist rebellion in 1979 and 1980.
His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Princess Sirindhorn visited Ban Mai Samakee village on February 13, 1982, and recognized the community as a Kachin village.
Staff from the Royal Project, soldiers from the Royal Thai Army, staff from Thailand’s forest ministry, ex-KIA soldiers, and ethnic Chinese people from Sinjai village planted the trees together on Monday.