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BurmaNet News: 13 June, 1995 [#183]

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"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: 13 June, 1995
Issue #183



Tha Nation/11.6.95


A TOTAL of 23 Burma border villagers forced by government troops
to carry war supplies in their offensives in their offensive
against Karen National Union forces have escaped from their
abductors to Karen-controlled area, a report from Thailand's
border town of Mae Sot said on Friday.

About 20 of them fled further on Friday morning across the border
to Thailand. One was wounded by a mine and hospitalized in Mae
Sot, while the rest were held in custody by Thai border police,
the report said.  

It quoted one villager, Pan Ji, 26 as saying that he and 14 other
men living in a village opposite Thailand's Mae Ku district of
Mae Sot were abducted by Burmese troops on the night of May 30.

The troops came to their village and seized the men from their
homes, tying their hands with rope, the report quoted him as

Another abducted villager, Ko U, 23 said hundreds of villagers
were forced earlier this month to carry supplies for government
troops and to trek  through jungle paths at night.

Ko U said he witnessed at lease four of five fall and die along
the way as a result of malaria and the Burmese troops, and the
Burmese troops paid no attention to their corpses.

Many government troops also had malaria and the villagers were
forced to carry the sick soldiers, as well as those wounded in
battle. the report quoted Ko U as saying.

The Nation/11.6.95

Associated Press

SINGAPORE- Burmese leaders yesterday dismissed Western complaints
of human rights violations, including continuing detention of
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as meaningless and
ineffective in scaring foreign visitors.

"They used these tools but it has not been effective," said David
Abel, Burma's minister for economic and national planning.

The western yardstick of human rights " is not to the requirement
of the Asian perception" and differs from Burma's ethos, culture
and history, said Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw.

Abel and Ohn Gyaw are in Singapore as part of a 45-member
entourage of Burma's ruling junta leader, Gen Than Shwe, who is
on a four-day visit here.

Since the United Kingdom and the United States are among the
leading investors in Burma, It is just meaningless when they talk
about human rights and democracy and so forth," Abel said.

The UK's US$634 million investment in Burma is the biggest
followed by France, Thailand, Singapore and the United States.
However, British companies are mostly Hong Kong-based but
registered in British administered territories.

The present investors, they are not scared(because of human
rights allegations), they are prepared to invest more," Abel told
a news conference.

Burma's military junta came to power in 1988 after violently
suppressing pro-democracy demonstrations. It refused to turn over
power to Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, landslide
winner of a 1990 general election. She has been under house
arrest since 1989.

Ohn Gyaw declined to say if Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace prize winner
of 1991,  would be released July 19, the date her sentence
technically ends.

Suu Kyi was restricted to her house simply because she has
transgressed the existing laws. It will be in accordance with the
law that she will be treated," Ohn Gyaw said.

However, he said junta leader leaders have met with her twice and
so has US Representative Bill Richardson, a democratic from New
Mexico. He was denied a second meeting in May.

"At an appropriate time there will be continuing meetings, the
process is going on," Ohn Gyaw said.

Asked when the appropriate time will come, Ohn Gyaw replied: "I
am not a prophet." "Appropriate time will arrive when appropriate
environment and appropriate situation will occur...This
appropriateness is for the sake of finding(solution) in a
congenial way," he said.

Abel and Ohn Gyaw said their main concerned now is to uplift the
economy the economy, which was one of the region's most
prosperous in the 1950s. But it stagnated from the 1960s during
socialist rule until the junta transformed into a partially free
market system.

According to government statistics, Burma's economy grew 6.8 per
cent in the fiscal year ended March 31, exceeding a target of 6.4
per cent. The country expects a growth rate of 7.7 per cent for
the next fiscal year.

The Junta leader, Than Shwe, is scheduled to return to Burma
today, ending his third visit abroad since becoming chairman of
the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council.

10 JUNE 1995
Burmese Prime Minister Than Shwe, leading a high-powered military
and political delegation to Indonesia and Singapore, has clinched
agreements the boost ties with the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (Asean).
Than Shwe, a senior general and chairman of the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (Slorc), signed an agreement in Singapore to
strengthen relations, starting with tourism and agro-business.
The pact promotes trade growth through simplifying procedures and
cooperation in shipping.
Than Shwe, who ends a four-day visit to Singapore on Sunday,
arrived in the city state from Jakarta, where he signed a bilateral
agreement to boost economic and trade relations.
Both Singapore and Indonesia are members of Asean, which also
includes Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand and Than
Shwe's visits were his first to Asean nations since he became
chairman of the Slorc in 1992.
As well as talks on economic cooperation, Than Shwe was also
expected to discuss the prospect of Burma's participation in Asean
"Singapore will help Myanmar [Burma] integrate itself into the
region and develop like the countries of Asean," Singapore Prime
Minister Goh Chok Tong said during a speech at a dinner.
But Goh also told Than Shwe that Burma should continue improving
its economic and political climate wanted to attract more foreign

Earlier this week, Singapore Technologies Industrial Corporation
said it had signed a memorandum of understanding to build a US$ 360
million international airport in Mandalay.
Analysts said Than Shwe's visits were sign of Asean's divergence
from efforts to isolate Burma and of a desire to take advantage of
its rich resources and cheap labour.
"Than Shwe's visit is in keeping with the Asean strategy not to
ostracise the country because of its human rights record but to
help it to integrate with the region," said Kripa Sridharan, a
political scientist at the national University of Singapore.
"Given that there is a positive trend in Myanmar to liberalise its
economy, and efforts by some Asean countries to diversify, one
could expect strengthening of cooperation between Asean and
Myanmar," said Kevin Chew, economist at Baring Securities. (BP &

Mail: (i)ndex (u)nread (w)rite (c)apture (d)elete (s)ave (h)elp (q)uit: 

Message 13 (221 lines)
>From steele@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Mon Jun 12 03:38:22 1995
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 1995 17:38:23 +0700 (GMT+0700)
To: strider <strider@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Douglas Steele <steele@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: news

12 JUNE 1995

Burmese troops have arrested 15 Thais along the border in the
past two days, police said yesterday.

Pol Maj Phayuha Boosabong, a provincial Border Patrol officer,
said Burmese soldiers on Saturday apprehended two Thais in Kra
Buri district's Ban Klong Krang.

Villagers told police they saw Burmese soldiers from Hill 491
arrest another 1

3 Thais in the same area yesterday afternoon,
Phayuha said. (TN)

12 JUNE 1995

Motorbike dealers have stepped up a sales drive in the capital of
Burma as a growing number of citizens turn to motorbikes to deal
with the worsening traffic situation.

Dealers said demand for motorbikes has also grown rapidly in
recent months because such vehicles have low fuel consumption and
their prices have dropped.

A new 50 cc motorbike now sells for about 200,000 kyats against
400,000 kyats in the past, the dealers said.

A Thai trading company recently sold two cars for office use in
Rangoon and purchased three motorbikes to cut costs.

A bike sales agency affiliated with Honda Motor Co of Japan will
open a showroom for bikes later this month. The agency said it
has increased its monthly sales target to more than 250 units
from a monthly average of 150 sold last year.

Another sales agency affiliated with Suzuki Motor Corp of Japan,
which opened a showroom in April last year, said it plans to sell
various models, including those with larger engine capacity, to
meet the growing needs of customers. (TN)

12 JUNE 1995

The stark face of narco-terrorism was seen in Thailand last week.
The heroin warlord Khun Sa and a reputed "Mr Big" of Prachin Buri
province tried to trade guns for drugs.

Police broke the case and seized three Soviet anti-aircraft
missiles bound across Thailand to the northern Chiang Mai fron
tier. The million-baht barter deal involved arms from Cambodia,
drugs from Burma, and broker and his messengers in Thailand. Two
Thai men carrying the missiles northwest from Cambodia were
intercepted by police.

Authorities arrested the two gun-runners involved in actually
transporting the SA-7 Strella missiles. These were the small
fish. Unknown Cambodians government or Khmer Rouge and Khun Sa
were not apprehended. Police Chief Gen Pote Boonyachinda provided
few details of the investigation of the Prachin Buri businessman
allegedly involved in the transaction. We hope that in coming
days we will learn more of this mystery man, and in time learn
that he, too, will face Thai courts.

Narco-terrorism a melding of the illicit trades of narcotics,
guns and money-laundering has long been a feature of the cocaine
trade in Latin America. There, democratic regimes have been
directly threatened by gangsters involved in this dirty business.

Only determined and relentless action can wipe it out. At about
the same time Thai police were breaking up the guns-for-heroin
deal, an elite force in Colombia was arresting that nation's
leading drugs dealer. Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, who with his
brother headed the infamous Cali cartel, was found hiding in a
closet in his home.

Although there was no immediate link to Saturday night's murder
ous bomb blast in Medellin, analysts noted the bomb, intended to
kill "as many people as possible", was planted only one day after
the arrest of Rodriguez.

Gen Pote and other experts said that Khun Sa wants anti-aircraft
missiles to fight off attacks by the Burmese army on his fiefdom
next door to Thailand. In fact, the warlord has long been ru
moured to possess such weapons. 

Links to illegal arms dealers also have been reported in the
past, but never confirmed. The international scope of the deal,
involving crooks from at least three different countries, must
give our authorities cause for concern and motivation to press
harder against such criminals.

There can be little doubt that our own police are equal to the
task. Over the past many months, Thai police, border police and
the Army have tightened and re-tightened the border opposite Khun
Sa's area of influence inside Burma.

As Gen Pote said at last week's news conference, "Thailand does
n't give support to Khun Sa. Thai police already have a warrant
against him and if they see Khun Sa they will arrest him immedi
ately." In two separate cases, Thai courts are considering extra
dition of former MP Thanong Siripreechapong and 10 of Khun Sa's

Our Burmese and Cambodian neighbours inspire less confidence.
Slorc authorities have spent the last two dry seasons in military
offensives against Khun Sa.

Although they clearly wish to destroy the heroin trade is more
problematic. As for Cambodia, that fledgling nation is still
reeling from a long and brutal civil war. The nation has become a
major transit point for narcotics, guns and laundered money. The
government is hard-pressed in trying to deal with these problems.
Starting today, US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents
based in Bangkok will begin a two-week training course for 45
Cambodian anti-drugs police and military officers. There is much
work to do.

When men like Khun Sa or "Mr Big" gain an advantage, they are
relentless. They use the huge amounts of money gained in narcot
ics and arms trafficking to corrupt. Today, many parts of Latin
America are involved in life-and-death battles against cocaine

All society is involved, from the brutalised farmers to the upper
levels of local and national government. In the last two months
of an anti-drug campaign in Colombia, President Ernesto Samper
has dismissed 220 police officers including three colonels and 13
lieutenant colonels. In addition, 400 sergeants and 1,600 police
men were dismissed.

The missiles seizure shows the international scope of narco-
terrorism in our own midst. Drugs and weapons combine into a
deadly and serious corruption problem. The men involved seek to
control politics and nations. They corrupt individuals, pervert
societies and debase the nations where they live. Khun Sa and "Mr
Big" of Prachin Buri are two of a kind. (BP)

12 JUNE 1995

Both China and Thailand have a major role to play in the imple
mentation of the Economic Quadrangle Cooperation Plan, according
to Palang Dharma party leader, Thaksin Shinawatra.

"Sincerity and seriousness" from each member country Thailand,
Laos, Burma and South China will be needed to overcome obstacles,
said Mr Thaksin after the opening ceremony of Shinawatra Group's
building in Chiang Mai.

He said the Palang Dharma Party readily supports pushing the
quadrangle forward. The aim of the economic quadrangle is to
foster regional links between member countries to promote trade
and business activities.

Given the potential of China's huge consumer market, trading and
business activities between Thailand and southern China is seen
as essential in the development of northern Thailand.

"We must seriously stimulate this cooperation. Burma in particu
lar must be more supportive than it is," said Mr Thaksin.

"I think it's necessary to push this matter because it's part of
the economic development in the north, and so far there is very
little cooperation regarding transport management on the Mekong
river." (BP)