See Phuket And Die, Chapter Eleven
They had been watching the fishing boat for the past six hours. The three soldiers all wore night vision goggles and all were searching the sea. They saw the movement first, a tiny speck bobbing on the water heading towards the boat and then the shadows
blending together. After a while they could see that the boats had separated and a long tail boat was coming towards the shore line. There was no beach here, just mangrove trees reaching out to the sea, an unlikely place to land.
‘Let’s move.’ Sergeant Lek jumped up and his men scrambled after him. One man pulled out the truck and the other two tried to keep an eye on the long tail. The coast line was miles long and it was imperative that they meet the boat where ever it landed. The soldiers climbed on the back of the truck for a better look.
‘Looks like it will make land about three kilometers north.’ Sgt. Lek shook his head and tapped his fist against his ear as he motioned the second soldier to start the truck. They sped down the road, lights out and night vision goggles still on. One of the men spoke into a mobile phone, ‘Bird is spotted.’ A light flashed in the night ahead, at the edge of the bushes touching the sea. The soldiers saw it easily and then ahead was a truck parked on the edge of the road. They pulled along side. The truck was empty and the soldiers drove on a hundred yards, parked and ran back. The light flashed again and the long tail pulled in close to the mangroves and dropped anchor. In a few minute, three men struggled up the hillside towards the truck, each carrying a five gallon black plastic gasoline can on their shoulders. After a moments rest they hoisted the cans onto the bed of the truck. Two soldiers stepped from one side of the truck and the last soldier from the other side putting pistols to the men’s heads.
‘Hands on the truck. Lean on the truck. Step back. Step back.’ The men were patted down. They were unarmed although there were two automation weapons on the truck bed which one soldier threw into the bushes.
‘Stand up. Turn around. How many men on the boat?’ Sergeant Lek spoke quietly. The three prisoners spoke not at all. ‘Possibly my northern dialect is unfamiliar to you? You may not understand what I am asking. Let me see if I can make things more clear.’ Sergeant Lek put his silenced pistol underneath a man’s chin and blew his brains skyward with no more than a muffled whoosh of sound and the man’s body crumpling to the ground.
‘Are things more clear to you now?’ Lek had the pistol underneath the second prisoners chin.
‘There’s two men waiting at the boat.’
‘They are waiting for us to come back.’
‘Well, let’s not hold them up.’ Sergeant Lek got into the truck with one man and the two soldiers climbed onto the back of the truck with the second prisoner. ‘Call home.’ Lek said before climbing into the cab.
One of the soldiers spoke quietly into his mobile phone. ‘Bird is on the wing. Bird is on the wing.’
Inside the sergeant asked the driver, ‘Is there a password to get in?’
The man shook his head. They know us. They will let us in.’
‘How many will let you in?’
‘Two. Two will let us in.’
The sergeant knocked on the back window without looking, held up two fingers and then pointed ahead.
Back at the motel, Colonel Jammeri snapped his phone shut. ‘Okay, let’s go. Let’s get out of here’
Jipthep and the last soldier stood up and Jip made a grab for his gym bag.
‘Leave that crap behind.’ We’re not going to have room for it.’ Jammeri handed Jip a fat black pistol along with a short steel tube.
‘Take this, you may need it. The suppressor screws on.’
Jip turned the weapon over in his hand. It was a heavy and brutish looking. Sixteen rounds in the bulky black grip was a lot more firepower that he was used to. ‘Do you have a holster?’
‘Carry it in your hand. Best place for it.’ Jammeri nodded for Jip to follow him and they pilled into the maroon Honda.
A half a kilometer down the road, a pick up tuck with his lights off pulled on to the highway and followed the Honda. Captain Ritak was determined to finish his business tonight.
‘Do what you want with the Iman. I’m not leaving without Goby.’ Jip pulled the slide back on the weapon and slid a cartridge into the chamber.
‘Of course Jipthep, of course. The Jammer smiled. ‘He’s a good boy and we will not leave him behind.’
Twenty minutes later they were in front of the mosque. There was a pick up truck parked near the gate, two people in the cab. ‘Turn around here and park in back of the truck.’ Jammeri screwed on the suppressor to his pistol and thumbed the safety off.
As they exited the car, two people got out of the truck cab and three men from the back bed, hoisting the plastic gas cans to their shoulders. Sergeant Lek pushed the driver forward holding up two fingers towards Jammeri and pointing to the front gate. The driver knocked on the large wood gate, a slide was thrown back, the guardian saw his man out front and swung open the big doors. Sergeant Lek stepped inside, shot the two men in the face and ran towards the mosque followed by his two soldiers. The third soldier quickly shot last two hostages and broke into a run after the other soldiers heading towards the mosque. The Jammer pointed to the last soldier and then to the three gas cans and made a stay motion with his hands, nodded to Jipthep and ran towards the mosque entrance.
Jipthep trotted alongside the colonel. ‘For God’s sake, I didn’t know you were going to kill everyone in sight.
‘Just stay in back of me and don’t get in the way.’ The colonel paid little attention now to Jip.
It was quiet as Jipthep and the colonel made their way down the tiled hallway and then came the klack-klack of the automatic weapons slides racing back and forth and the pinging of empty brass cartridges clanging against the tile floor. Death was being dealt out as silently as possible. In the next room that they came to they found two soldiers holding Iman Mohamed. There were three dead bodyguards sprawled on the floor next to a large aluminum suitcase. The suitcase was open and neatly wrapped thousand baht bills were bulging out.
‘What about our agreement? Twenty million baht wasn’t enough for you to ride shotgun? You’re a day early.’ The Iman was seething with rage as he spat the words out.
Colonel Jammeri smiled. ‘It’s the early bird that catches the worm. I was thinking that it’s not very much money for a guaranteed safe delivery to Bangkok.’ Jammeri pointed to a soldier and then to the suitcase and then pointed outside. ‘Put it on the truck along with the shipment.’
The Iman took a step forward but was held back by the other soldier. ‘That money has to go to the boat.
It’s payment for the delivery, you know that. It has to go to Myanmar.’
‘I’m confiscating everything in the name of the Thai government.’
A third soldier came into the chamber holding a struggling child underneath his arm. ‘Look what I found.’
He set the boy down. Goby was dressed in a white robe; his hair was trimmed and neat. He ran to the Iman and held onto his leg.
‘Goby come over here by me please.’ Jammeri waved his hand.
Goby shook his head no and held on to the Iman’s leg.
‘I’m afraid if you don’t do as I say that this is going to become very unpleasant,’ the Jammer smiled.
Jammeri paused for a few seconds and then held his pistol towards the Iman and fired twice. The shots made a whispering sound as two bullets flew through the Iman’s chest and he fell to the ground about the same time as the two brass casings pinged on the tile floor.
Goby grabbed onto the Iman and cried. Jipthep shouted at the Jammer. ‘What did you do that for?
I thought that you were going to take him in for questioning.’
Jammeri motioned for the soldiers to take the body out as he picked up Goby and held him in his arms.
‘Look at it like this. I did him a favor. You know what they would have done to him in Bangkok?’
‘What’s in the plastic gas cans outside – drugs?’
‘Oxy Contin, pharmaceutically made under pristine laboratory conditions thanks to the Burmese government. I made a deal with the Iman last month to transport the pills safely to Bangkok for a fee of twenty million baht. But I was thinking, the Iman was going to pay one hundred baht a pill for the oxycotton as everyone calls it so that’s one hundred million baht in the suitcase that’s supposed to go on the boat and then when I deliver the pills to Bangkok, he gets five hundred baht a tablet and then the dealers go on to sell the tablets for nine hundred or a thousand baht a pill and it goes very fast.’
‘It’s very popular in America isn’t it? Jip was puzzled as to what exactly was happening.
‘Yes. It’s synthetic morphine and used as a timed release pain killer. When the druggies discovered that by pulverizing the pills and either snorting the powder or taking it orally they would get a rush better than heroin.
‘But that’s not going to happen is it? You're going to turn everything over the government, aren't you?
Jipthep reached for Goby but Jammeri held him tight. The boy was still a bit dazed.
‘Do you know what we have here? Six hundred million baht. My boys will get twenty million apiece and you Jipthep, I’ll cut in for the same amount even though you didn’t do anything.’
Captain Ritak watched the soldiers run into the mosque followed by Jipthep and the Jammer. The red Honda was parked nearby and now was as good a time as any. Ritak pulled the cork from his bottle of gasoline and sprinkled it over the interior of the car. He lit a piece of scrap paper and tossed it inside. There was a ‘wooph’ as the car burst into flame. Then there was the chink-chink of bullets splattering off the Honda. One of the colonel’s men was shooting at him from behind a pick up truck. Ritak shouldered the big AK and fired a dozen rounds.
The huge solid steel bullets tore through the car’s front fender and headlight as if they were made of cheese and cut the soldier in half. The sound of the shooting broke the stillness of the night and lights started to go on in the neighboring buildings. A man appeared in the mosque gateway carrying an aluminum suitcase. Following close behind were two more men dragging another man. The soldier threw the suitcase into the truck bed as Ritak fired a full clip killing him and the other two men. No sense in taking any chances. He ran across the street and stood by the gate. Jipthep and the colonel must still be inside, he would have to go in and find them but two things happened almost at once. He looked up to see a crowd of people coming his way. Many were not fully dressed and were waving their arms and shouting, angry about the gunshots. He could hear the cries already and they were two blocks away. His truck was in that direction and if he ran to his truck he might or might not make it in time. He had no compunction about shooting into a crowd but there seemed to be too many of them.
The second thing that happened was that inside the front yard of the mosque a vehicle’s headlights went on and the engine sprang to life. The car started to speed straight for him. Ritak held the heavy weapon to his shoulder with one hand and held up his other in a stop motion. If the car refused to stop he would shoot it to pieces. The car screeched to a halt and Ritak sprang into the passenger’s seat, the muzzle of his weapon pressing against the drivers head.
‘Go left,’ he shouted, ‘and step on the gas, keep driving,’ Ritak urged as the car jumped forward and a body ricocheted off the front fender.
The Jammer and Jipthep heard the shooting also. ‘Time to get out of here,’ Jammeri headed towards the door.
‘Give me the boy, shouted Jipthep.
The Jammer turned and smiled. He’ll stay with me for three more days, until I dispose of the oxycotton and put the cash safely away. Think of it as insurance.’
‘Take the drugs, let the boy go.’ Jipthep raised the massive pistol that he had been holding all along.
Jammeri shook his head disappointedly. ‘Toss it on the floor.’ The Jammer held a knife to Goby’s throat.
Jip threw the pistol on the floor and it clattered across the still room. ‘This is your last chance. Let the boy go.’
‘You always were so persistent Jipthep.’ Jammeri turned and walked towards the doorway.
Jip drew his thirty eight caliber revolver at the same time as Jammeri turned and fired his automatic weapon. The furious buzz of bullets tore the tiles from the walls, splintered plaster and wood, reaching out for Jipthep, racing towards their target as Jammeri swiveled his body. Jip had only a split second for one shot.
He stood quite still and fired, catching the Jammer squarely in the head. Goby was knocked to the floor along with Jammeri. The slugs from the machine gun tearing a gaping wound in the ceiling as the Jammer was forced backwards. Jip ran to the bodies, grabbed the boy and rushed towards the doorway leading to the courtyard, keenly aware that he had only five shots left in his father’s old pistol. Racing to the front gate he saw the Honda ablaze and the soldiers dead with no sign of the AK 47 shooter. There was an excited throng of people swarming up the street.
Jip threw Goby into the front seat of the nearest truck and hoped for the best. The left side had already been shot up pretty good. Luck was with him; the keys were in the ignition and he ground into first gear as he switched into four wheel drive and sped down the street straight towards the crowd. He didn’t slow the truck as the crowd tried to swarm over the cab. He kept his foot on the gas and felt the truck go over three or four bodies. If he stopped they would tear him to pieces.
Jip had to drive as fast and as far away as possible and kept his foot to the floor. He peered over at Goby who had his arms wrapped around his knees and his head down. He was sobbing softly to himself.
Jip reached over and touched the boy on the arm. ‘That was tough going for a while but everything is going to be all right now.’
Goby looked up, still crying, ‘The Iman was going to send me to school and then the colonel killed him and I thought the colonel liked me but then he was going to kill me too.’
‘Sometimes the good guys are really the bad guys. Never mind, you can live with my family in Bangkok.’
‘I want to live with you in Phuket. I bet I’m not going to get my police uniform now either .’
‘We’ll see. Now let me concentrate on the road. We have a long way ahead of us.’