respect of the hill tribes of his native Shan State in Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle region.
Khun Sa’s rapid rise, however, put him in conflict with the powerful Kuomintang of China (KMT), the remnants of the military forces defeated by the Chinese Communists under Mao Tse-Tung. The KMT was forced to flee to Burma (present day Myanmar) in 1949. The KMT was also heavily into drug trafficking, and it viewed the upstart Khun Sa as a dangerous rival.What became known as the Opium War heated up when the KMT ambushed Khun Sa’s caravan about 50 miles outside Ban Khwan on the Mekong River. Six bombers from the Laotian air force dumped 500-pound bombs on both the Khun Sa forces and the KMT. Then General Rattikone arrived on the scene with his government force, but to the surprise of both Khun Sa and the KMT, the general’s forces attacked both sides and took the opium.