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Rats Invade Thailand

BANGKOK (AP) - Wanted: suspects with pointed faces, brown hair and white bellies.

the bounty? fifty Satang (two U.S. cents) a tail.

Wet, hairy and mighty hungry, hordes of Laotian rats are paddling across the Mekong

River into Thailand, devouring acres of rice, corn and bean crops.

Authorities have issued arrest warrants and jokingly tacked up "wanted"

posters in Nong Khai province, 510 km northeast of Bangkok, the Thai-language Matichon

reported.

Villagers have heeded the call, killing more than 100,000 of the vermin and turning

in tails for reward money.

Rampaging rodents have damaged more than 3,520 hectares of farmland in northeastern

Thailand since July, officials said.

Chuchart Rattansuwan, an agricultural officer, said villagers and fishermen in Nong

Khai saw legions of rats streaming across the river, which forms the boundary with

Laos.

Swollen by monsoon rains this time of year, the brown, turbulent waters of the Mekong

is challenging even to human swimmers.

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