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SLORC and Narcotics

Dear Coban Tun,

Will you help me posting this article on soc.culture.burma? I have been
having some trouble posting it on SCB. This article was sent to DVB
(Democratic Voice of Burma) radio station based in Norway along with a
personal letter from the author. As it was originally written in English, we
have translated it into Burmese in order to be aired on anti-narcotic
program of the DVB. The authour's name was given as "Thura Aung". It may not
be a real one since this letter was sent directly from Keng Tung, Shan
State, Burma.



SLORC had been attacking Khun Sa since October 1993. Before that time, SLORC
did not directly fight with Khun Sa. Instead, Wa troops were put on the
front line. "Wa"s were transported from Wa state to the front by army vehicle.

As we have noted at least eight major operations by Wa troops had been
staged in Dri Lang area, since about 1988. The losses on both sides were
enormous. "Wa"s had to give a lot of their lives. Evidently on a good
promise of rewards, SLORC & Wa joined into a pack to wrestle narcotic
traffic routes into Thailand.

Failing to secure the planned routes, "Wa"s are now complaining for their
loss of lives. They look forward to compensations from SLORC. With a lot of
money & materials aids already given to "Wa"s, SLORC is being unable to
comply with. Last summer, with disagreements rising, Wa in mainland Burma,
were all summoned back to their native state and tensions mounted.
Suspecting revolt, SLORC secretly smuggled truckloads of arms in an effort
to make ready for its troops, into Wa state. These were caught by the Wa
army. Then SLORC tried to disarm the Wa, and this lead to more suspicions.
In this (3rd) week of September for example, miners, in Muang Shu area where
gems digging is very much wide spread, are leaving because of a possible
fight between SLORC & Wa. ("Wa"s has been working in Mines business.)

New cultivations

SLORC is ignoring or supporting new opium cultivation in Northern Chin hills
and Nagaland land. It was repeatedly mentioned by foreign medias and
international narcotic agencies. It is also confirmed by local people. A
police officer, joining No.8 police station, Mandalay, on transfer from
Northern chill division in 1991 assured me - that the whole of Northern Chin
Hills are beautifully covered with opium flowers in season. VOA & BBC
insisted existence of Heroin labs, "always" close to a SLORC army battalion
base - in border areas close to India. Later news tell of other new
cultivations being started in Southern Chin Hills. There are also
possibilities of new cultivations in Putao Area and other northernmost part
of Burma. Gen. Khin Nyunt makes assurances publicly again that there will be
no more opium         cultivation in coming few years in and around golden
triangle. He is absolutely right - because the opium cultivation will be
shifted from golden triangle to Western and Northern high lands of Burma.
However, opium produced in Chin areas are "Watery"  liquid and refuses into
a solid mass, and it is evidently of low quality to bring high price in the
market, The watery opium is blotted with a gauge, when collected and it is
marketed as such. the quality of those Chin Hill products are yet to

More heroin labs are expected to be established in border areas close to
India, because the supply of Acetic Anhydride, a major chemical used to
purify heroin into best marketable quality 8 Di- hydroxy morphine) is easily
available from India, with no additional transport charges. Nagaland and
Assam on the other hand are now already being used as transit areas and a
"new golden triangle" is surly expected to be established west of Chindwin
River in a few decades. For this, India might have anticipated it and before
the trouble has escalated to an international problem, it tries to stop this
by making agreements to take bilateral anti-narcotic measures in early 1994.
However, India`s "unilateral" efforts to stop this narcotic business is very
much doubtful to success.

Relation with Kokant.

Kokant was never been part of Burma. In about 1895 China gave part of Keng
Cheng (south east of Keng Tung, situating on both sides of Mekong) to French
Laos. Before this it was part of Burma  by convention of 1894. Burma handed
over these Keng Cheng area to China, with a promise that it must not be
transferred to any other 3rd country, without the knowledge of British
Burma. When British govt. pointed out this fact to China, the later to
settle the matter, gave back Kokant area to Burma by 1896 convention. This
Kokant came permanently into Burma. It had been a poorly developed area
until opium  became a much demanded merchandise. One leader after another
rose and gone with opium politics. Still latest developments in these areas
are less promising and confusing barring the progress of the areas. 

The world is still ignorant that only Khun Sa is the single drug lord. There
are, I believe, few other equal or superior to Khun Sa in opium business.
People do not notice them. They are collaborating with SLORC. They all are,
including SLORC; as great as Khun Sa.

Li Min Cheng ( Lee Meng Xiang? ) was purely a Chinese from main land China.
BCP sent 134 selected ones to be trained as Cadres in 1960s. When they came
back, LMCh, was one of the Chinese cadres sent in along with BCP  cadres. He
was given in charge, as political commissar, of "area 815"; The area was
named in commemoration of August 15, 1947 when BCP was founded. When Kokant
and Wa revolted in 1988 against BCP, LMCh became more dominant and came to
the front lines. He was married to Phone Kyar Shin`s daughter. He
collaborates both with Khun Sa and SLORC. He is now recognised by SLORC , as
a local leader, representing "area 815", (?)east of Keng Tung. He earned a
lot of profits from narcotic business. He even stores opium in huge warehouses.

Kokant leader, Phone Kyar Shin took refuge in him after his defeat in a
quarrel with Yang Mo Hliang, a commander of Kokant army. Phone Kyar Shin had
collected opium packets from cultivators- with a return promise, to
contribute to SLORC; SLORC burned them publicly; SLORC, for this, gave
rewards or compensation to Kokant leader. Phone Kyar Shin put all into his
pocket. Not getting back any promised amount, people (cultivators) whispered
complaints; Yet, Phone Kyar Shin had not given his lot to the SLORC; when
his hidden opium were secretly transported to Thailand, Yang Mo Hliang
intercepted and handed over all to SLORC. This drama had been staged in
about 1992, leading a severe fights between the two, latest news suggests
that Phone Kyar Shin and Yang Mo Hliang are now making compromises again.

Relations with Khun Sa

He was, on the other hand, successful both politically and militarily.
Politically he could consolidate his power by a successful compromise with
Lahu & Mo Hing. Joining together these 3 areas, he could make a strong belt,
strategically guarding a monopolised narcotic traffic route into Thailand.
It also put Ko Kant and Wa, both had signed a wolf pact with SLORC- in a
very difficult position for narcotic trafficking. 

Mo Hein had been a Shan tribal leader in BCP. Once he has punished by Ba
Thein Tin, discouraged and disappointed he surrendered to Burma Army.
Discontented, he went back into the jungle. Defiant, he raised his own army.
Khun Sa cleverly shared power with him, making him an administrative leader,
or the president of "Muang Tai" nation. Few years ago, he died of cancer of
the tongue in Ching Mai. Then, formerly acting head of army, Khun Sa assumed
now president. Like SLORC, Khun Sa made a national convention in 1993
attended by Shan deputies. He made a Shan government representing the Shan
states; Shan parliament, Shan laws etc. Then Khun Sa emerged as "national
leader" evidently trying to win Shan mass and to erase his position as a
drug lord. When Peter Borne, a U.S. officer, returned from a visit to Khun
Sa, SLORC decided it was ripe time to attack Khun Sa. Unlike other drug
lords of Ko Kant, Wa, and Pa-O, Khun Sa acts too much smartly and
independently, and evidently - that SLORC, cannot tolerate. SLORC itself is
the supreme drug lord.

So far, neither Khun Sa nor SLORC were on the rock. All the insurgents,
except Karen, are unable to stand against SLORC and are ready to accept any
terms with SLORC. Even Karen, which cannot turn a successful defensive
strategy into an offensive one, is now sending "SOS" to make peace terms
with SLORC. In such a situation like this, Khun Sa is the only force - for
good or not - worthy of an insurgent capable of any defiance to SLORC, with
"we-will-never-negotiate" attitude.

Intellectuals outlook to the present conflict between SLORC and Khun Sa is a
war of attrition to wrestle the traffic route. SLORC, the supreme drug lord,
had tried to win this route- using first Wa troops, then failed to launch
direct attacks against Khun Sa. Every body believes that Khun Sa or Wa or
SLORC will never win or lose. Of course  Khun Sa is not strong enough to
defeat the SLORC army. But the army's moral individually is lowest at this
time. The Burmese soldiers have no provisions, (and they loot food in every
villages for their survival), no medicines (medicines are sold out to black
markets before going to the front line), no enough immunitions, no good
morale, and no public support (village folks no more give them enemy's
position). So there are every reasons to believe that our glorious army is
incapable of accomplishing a complete victory over Drug Warlord Khun Sa. If
UN's economic and arms embargoes come, the top generals will have to
maintain military unity by sacrificing its power to the people. And Khun Sa
may come out still a victor. Then, if Khun Sa refuses against the peoples'
welfare - the victor will become a vanquished.

End of the text.