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BurmaNet News November 11, 1996

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies" 

The BurmaNet News: November 11, 1996
Issue #566

Noted in Passing:

		They (the United Solidarity and Development 
		Association) are being used the way Hitler used his 				organization to
harass people in the most dangerous
		fashion - DASSK (see: AP:  MOBS ROAM BURMA 			STREETS)


November 11, 1996

In the November 7, 1996 issue of BurmaNet, the lead article:

by Francois Casanier 

was stated as coming from Reuters.  This was a mistake.  The article actually
came from DIGIPRESSE, Paris.

- BurmaNet


November 11, 1996

RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- Mobs acting with apparent government approval roamed
parts of the capital Sunday, a day after one group attacked Aung San Suu Kyi
and other leaders of the pro-democratic opposition. 

Fewer were on the streets, however, and no violence was reported Sunday. 

On Saturday, some 200 of what Suu Kyi called ``hooligans'' set upon cars
carrying her and two top lieutenants, using fists and sticks to bash in
windows and dent the vehicles. One of her party's leaders, Tin Oo, suffered a
small scratch on his cheek from flying glass. 

Suu Kyi and witnesses said government security forces stood by and did
nothing during the attack. Police and military officials also failed to
intervene in a separate, less severe assault the same day, said the Nobel
Peace Prize winner, who heads the National League for Democracy. 

Residents in areas where the mobs were active -- around University Avenue in
Bahan Township and Yankin Township -- said Sunday they had observed hundreds
of suspicious-looking people brought in by trucks and given instructions by
some police officers. 

Suu Kyi said the mob actions were orchestrated by Burma's military regime,
which otherwise strictly enforces a ban on public gatherings and tolerates no

The mobs were evidently deployed to harass Suu Kyi and to scare her
supporters from gathering near her home to meet with her. 

A small crowd of supporters that gathered at one junction near her house
Sunday afternoon dispersed without incident as evening fell. Many people had
gathered there in hopes of seeing Suu Kyi. 

Asked why he was leaving, one of her supporters explained that ``darkness is
a good cover for thugs.'' 

At a Saturday evening news conference, Suu Kyi charged that the crowd
comprised members of the United Solidarity and Development Association, a
government-supported mass organization. 

``They are being used the way Hitler used his organization to harass people
in the most dangerous fashion,'' she said. 

The government had no immediate comment. Official comment on events -- if
any-- is usually made in the state-controlled media. 

Burma's state press on Sunday made no mention of Saturday's incidents. People
who knew of the incident had heard about it on the BBC's Burmese-language
shortwave radio service, probably the most popular source of uncensored news.

Many Rangoon residents apparently were unaware of Saturday's incidents,
although the roving mobs have drawn attention since they comprise
rough-looking young men under the discipline of well-dressed men with

Only security personnel are allowed to carry such radios in Burma, where
unregistered possession of even a fax machine or modem is punishable by
several years' imprisonment. 

A Western diplomat, speaking Saturday on condition of anonymity, said he
talked to some mob members, who told him they were paid 500 kyats (dlrs 4.15)
each to stage their activities. 

Suu Kyi and leaders of other political parties met Sunday with U.S. Sen. John
McCain, a Republican from Arizona. McCain met earlier in the day with Lt.
Gen. Khin Nyunt, a leading member of the country's ruling junta. 

Details of the talks were not available. 

But in Washington Saturday, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns urged
Burma to punish those responsible for the mob attack and ``take every
possible means to assure the safety of Aung San Suu Kyi.'' 

``The United States is outraged by this attack, which took place under
circumstances which are, to say the least, extremely disturbing,'' Burns said. 

For the seventh straight weekend, officials have blockaded the road to Suu
Kyi's house to keep people from gathering outside her home, where she had
customarily given weekend speeches to crowds of supporters. 

Suu Kyi began the street-side meetings in July last year, after she was
released from six years of house arrest. 

Last weekend, Suu Kyi began to go to the blocked intersections to hold
hurried meetings with small groups of followers. 

Suu Kyi and her associates said they were not frightened by the attacks, and
she vowed to carry on with her efforts to speak to her supporters. 

``We cannot give up our rally because this is the only way to communicate
with our people,'' she said. ``The authorities have been trying to isolate us
from the general public and make it impossible for us to function as a
political party.'' 


November 10, 1996
By Rajan Moses 

    RANGOON, Nov 10 (Reuters) - The United States expressed outrage on
Sunday over an attack on Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's
motorcade, demanding government action to punish the culprits and ensure her

    The Nobel Peace laureate, unhurt by stones thrown at her motorcade,
denounced the attack as government orchestrated. 

    Her opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party said on Sunday
it would not be provoked by Saturday's attack, the first of its kind against
Suu Kyi. 

    NLD vice-chairman U Tin Oo said it was a new government tactic designed
to intimidate her. 

    A U.S. embassy statement strongly condemned the incident and called on
the military government to ensure no repetition. 

    It was the latest blast at Burma's military rulers who have come under
regular international criticism on human rights and suppression of democracy.

    Leading Asian democrats gathered in Manila last week called for an arms
and economic embargo against Burma and urged the international business
community to freeze investments until a new government is in place in

    Suu Kyi and the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
have been engaged in a standoff over her demand for greater democracy in
Burma since her release in July, 1995, from six years of house arrest. 

    The SLORC has detained and then released hundreds of her NLD party
supporters and members at various times to pressure her. 

    ``The United States is outraged by this attack which took place under
circumstances which are, to say the least, extremely disturbing,'' U.S.
Charge d'Affairs Kent Wiedemann said in a statement obtained by Reuters. 

    ``We call on the SLORC, which rules Burma, to punish those responsible
for the attack, take every possible means to assure the safety of Aung San
Suu Kyi and to prevent any such attacks in the future,'' he said. 

    Wiedemann and John McCain, a visiting Republican senator from Arizona,
met senior SLORC officials and Suu Kyi on Sunday before issuing the

    ``...we will not stir up any counter reaction by the people because what
has happened is politically favorable to us,'' U Tin Oo told Reuters before
leaving for a meeting with Suu Kyi and other top NLD party leaders on Sunday.

    People could see from the incident who the provocateurs were, and it was
not the NLD, he added. 

    A government official said investigations were under way to find out who
had carried out the attack. 

    Suu Kyi, whose car windshield was smashed by stone-throwers, was
traveling in a motorcade to meet hundreds of supporters near a police
checkpoint barring public access to her University Avenue residence. 

    U Tin Oo's car windows were also smashed, as were those of two government
security cars also in the motorcade. 

    Suu Kyi and U Tin Oo had complained on Saturday that uniformed security
personnel at the scene failed to deter the attackers. 

    ``The whole thing was carefully orchestrated by the authorities. What
kind of government is it that allows such hooliganism?'' Suu Kyi said. 

    The stone throwers dispersed only after a government security officer in
the motorcade waved his pistol in the air. 

    A government official said late on Saturday that the attackers must have
been people fed up with Suu Kyi's political activities, particularly on
weekends, which they found to be disruptive. 

    ``She (Suu Kyi) thinks the whole country likes what she does, but there
are some people who are fed up with her activities and don't like her,'' he


November 10, 1996

      BRUSSELS, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Two European parliamentarians visited
Burma and recorded on video opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's appeal for
tighter sanctions against the military government, British politician Glenys
Kinnock said on Sunday. 

    Kinnock, an outspoken critic of the Burmese government, told Reuters she
arrived in Rangoon on Friday on an ordinary tourist visa obtained in Bangkok
which gave her occupation as ``teacher.'' 

    ``It was a very unpleasant atmosphere and a very tense trip,'' said
Kinnock, who was accompanied by fellow European Member of Parliament Glyn
Ford. ``They had no idea who we were, but we still felt very uneasy.'' 

    Kinnock and Ford -- posing as tourists -- visited Suu Kyi at her
heavily-guarded home during which they recorded on video her appeal for
tightening economic sanctions against the ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC). 

    On Saturday, Suu Kyi emerged unscathed from an attack by stone-throwers
on her car when she drove to meet hundreds of supporters barred by police
from gathering outside her home. 

    The opposition National League for Democracy has accused the military
government of orchestrating the attack, but says it will not be provoked by
the incident. 

    The SLORC has detained and then released hundreds of  Suu Kyi's party
supporters and members at various times to exert pressure on her. 

    During the appeal, Kinnock said, Suu Kyi condemned France for blocking a
European parliament call for the EU to withdraw special trade preferences
granted to Burma. 

    The video will be broadcast to European parliamentarians on Monday,
Kinnock said. 


October 11, 1996

Farmers In Irrawaddy Division Face Arrests 

A report from inside Burma shows that farmers in Irrawaddy Division were
arrested for not meeting the rice selling quota posted by the Burmese military
authorities. A number of farmers had been detained and sentenced up to one
year with hard labor for the crime.

After the last harvest the farming communities in the Irrawaddy Delta found
that their crop output had dwindled compared to that of the year before. They
blamed the bad weather for having such a scanty yield. But the State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC) did not blame the weather; they held 
farmers responsible for not being able to supply the re-determined amount of
rice to the SLORC. 

Farmers in Burma are required to sell a part of their crop at fixed price to
the government in accordance with the acres they own - 420 kg per acre. The
authorities determine the price of rice in advance. This oldest form of
practice has been in practice since the SLORC seized power in 1988. Ever since
the military regime has doubled its efforts to buy more rice from farmers at
pre-determined prices. Rice is one of main foreign currency earners in Burma.  

Reportedly there had been mass arrests of farmers who were not able to come up
with the quota in the Delta. Some of the farmers have been sentenced to a
prison term for the crime and sent to labor camps.

In order to meet the quota, many farmers had to sell their belongings such as
houses, paddy fields, cattle and others to buy necessary amount of rice from
other areas to fill the quota. This was then sold to the Irrawaddy Division
Law and Order Restoration Council. 

The report also mentioned that the farmers who had nothing to sell other than
their paddy fields had run away with their families from their home and that
some other farmers who were old and feeble committed suicide because they
could not escape like others.

Due to the problems rising during the last harvest, the population of farmers
in that area has decreased and subsequently the paddy fields have been left
uncultivated during the time of monsoon. 

U Win Htein, a close aide of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was arrested early this
year for collaborating with farmers in the Delta region to video the paddy
fields with dry plants under the SLORC's special programs. He was later
sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. 

In an attempt to solve the problem, the SLORC later released the farmers who
had been imprisoned for the crime to grow rice. The farmers however had to
sign agreements for the fiscal year 1996-97 to sell SLORC the pre-determined
quota of rice from the new harvest plus the amount left unpaid by the farmers.
These problems were especially rampant in the townships of Bo Galay, Kyait
Lat, Phya Pon and Daedaye in Irrawaddy Division.

The following is the partial list of farmers who were arrested and sent to
labor camps during this year.

Name:          U Ba San
Father's Name: U Mya Gyi
Address:       Ywa Thaya village, Kyait Lat township, Irrawaddy Division.      

U Ba San was sentenced to jail for one year with hard labor and  was sent to
 Shwe Laik Kyin prison labor camp later. He owns six acres of paddy fields. He
was not able to sell full amount of the quota. At the time of reporting,  he
still owes 1,995 kilograms of rice to the SLORC. 

Name :         U Than Kyi
Father's Name: U Myint Hlaing
Address:       Ywa Thaya village, Kyait Lat township, Irrawaddy Division.      
U Than Kyi was sentenced to jail for one year with hard labor and
was sent to Shwe Laik Kyin prison labor camp. He owns 30 acres of paddy
fields. He still owes 12,600 kilograms of rice to the SLORC.
Name:          Ko Kyi Nyo
Father's Name: U Htaik
Address:       Ywa Thaya village, Kyait Lat township, Irraweddy Division       
Ko Kyi Nyi was sentenced to jail for one year and hard labor. He owns 20
acres. He still need to sell 7,000 kilograms of rice to the SLORC.

Name :         Ko Aye Ko
Father's Name: Unknown
Address:       Baka Gyi village, Kyait Lat township, Irraweddy Division.       
Ko Aye Ko was sentenced to jail for one year with hard labor. He
owns 20 acres of paddy fields and has still 4,200 kilograms to repay to the

Name :         U Maung
Father's Name: U Gyi
Mother's Name: Daw Win Win
Address:       Mar Mar Gon village, Kyait Lat township, Irraweddy Division     
U Maung has 10 acres of paddy fields. He still has to repay 3,500 kilograms 
of rice to the SLORC. When he heard that he would be arrested for the crime 
he hanged himself and died.

Note: The names of farmers and villages have been changed for security reasons.

Oway News Agency

Email: lurie@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, caroline@xxxxxxxxxxxx    


November 8, 1996 (abridged)

The Nation's Ahmed Toledo spoke recently with the Philippine Senate minority

The Philippines has expressed reservations on Burma's entry into ASEAN next
year. What are your views on the Burma issue?

First of all, let me say that the Philippines should vigorously object to
Burma becoming a member of ASEAN now or next year considering the repressive
nature of the government in that country and its non-observance of human
rights. It seems to me that the Ramos government only acted belatedly on
this issue. I can understand that so many people are questioning our ideals
of democracy; how could we possibly recognize the Burmese government, given
the way of how it took power?
But then again, we are constrained by ASEAN's principle of consensus, that
of expressing and portraying a common and united stance on issues. If
we want to voice our dissent on this issue strongly, we've got to do it
first in ASEAN. We've got to use its mechanisms first. As the former
president of the ASEAN Law Association, I am aware of the initial steps that
need to be taken before one can come out with a stronger voice on an issue.
I object to the Burmese government's treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi and the
democratic forces in that country.

Do you think that ASEAN should continue with its constructive engagement policy?

If our aim is to see democracy in Burma, then I can say now that this policy
is not working. It's time the Philippines put its foot down and, if it has
to do it, come out with its real view on the Burma issue even if it is
politically different from that of ASEAN's other members. There is no point
coming to a consensus and then doing nothing.

How would you handle the Burma issue?

I will not hesitate at all to deviate from ASEAN's present policy on Burma.
I will make myself clear on this issue: the government of Burma should
respect the Burmese people's rights to freedom and heed the clamor for
democracy. (TN)


November 8, 1996

RANGOON - Burma's black market petrol prices, steady since a sudden leap in
mid-September, have jumped again despite moves by the military government to
keep them in check, residents said yesterday.

Rumors were spreading that the government was unable to find new suppliers
of crude oil, residents said, but local analysts blamed the price rise on an
increase in demand and stiff rationing.

Petrol in Rangoon was selling yesterday for about 320 kyat per gallon on the
black market, the main supply source for most private vehicles, compared
with an average of about 250 kyat per gallon over the last six weeks.

Supplies for the black market come from rations sold by civil servants
seeking to boost their meager wages, according to industry sources.

Although selling fuel in the black market is illegal, the government has
traditionally turned a blind eye.

Private car owners often have to rely on the black market to top off their
tanks as most are allowed to buy only two gallons of petrol a week at the
official price of 25 kyat per gallon.

Some with special coupons can buy an additional five gallons but must pay at
a much higher rate.

Analysts said that demand had increased following the end of the rainy
season and further government limits on fuel rations. A senior official in
the Ministry of Energy said that the ministry is negotiating crude supplies
with various potential suppliers.

"We invited about five companies and have been discussing with them the
supply of sweat crude for our refineries, without pre-fixing any terms and
conditions," he said. The bidders are mostly Japanese firms.

Official media said earlier this week that the government is also turning to
boost its crude oil production at some onshore oil fields and to set up
joint ventures with foreign companies with the aim to increase oil production.

It said that the ministry is also importing fuel from various unidentified
sources on a gross period basis.

The ministry official said that Burma's current domestic crude production is
12,000 barrels per day, down from 35,000 in 1982.

In mid-September petrol prices jumped to about 400 to 420 kyat per gallon on
panic buying as consumers feared a shortage on rumors that a foreign firm
had stopped supplying crude to Burma.

Japan's Mitsui and Co Ltd, a key supplier, said in September that Rangoon
was behind in some of its payments for crude oil and diesel fuel sold under
annual term contracts.

The company said that it believed the delay was due to operational matters
like issuing letters of credits. It said Mitsui had fulfilled all
obligations on its term contract, which expired on Sept 7, including cargo
loadings. (TN)


November 14, 1996

Malaysian diplomats say that a mid-October visit to Rangoon by Foreign
Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was aimed at taking the heat off Burma's
pro-democracy activists. According to the diplomats, Badawi warned the
ruling military junta that its recent crackdown against opposition
politicians could jeopardize Burma's entry into ASEAN, of which Rangoon
hopes to become a full member next year. Badawi's well-meaning efforts
seemed to have had mixed results at best. The junta did release a senior
aide of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and temporarily lifted the
barricade outside the Nobel laureate's house. But in early November, police
arrested 12 of her supporters, though they were released later, and have
blocked traffic and pedestrian access to her home. (FEER)


November 4, 1996 

There have been allegations for some time that foreign oil companies from
the Yatana natural gas pipeline project are cooperating closely with the
SLORC [State Law and Order Restoration Council] troops. It became evident
when a deserter - Private Soe Soe, age 24 years, Personal Number 765284 from
the 273 LIR's [Light Infantry Regiment] 4th Company - revealed that the
Total [French oil company] base camp personnel are hand in glove with the
SLORC's 273 LIR.

Pvt Soe Soe said Ohnbingwin Total base camp and the 273 LIR camp are located
opposite each other and not even 100 metres apart. Since the duty of the LIR
is to provide security for Total camp personnel the soldiers accompany the
Total officials whenever they travel. About two companies provide security
for each trip and the Total vehicles and the military vehicles mix together
and travel. Total officials are accompanied by French mercenaries and
despite supplying fuel and other rations Total also have to bribe the SLORC
company commanders.

The 273 LIR regimental commander, Maung Maung Than, is a buddy of the Total
officials and he spends most of his time at the Total officers' mess hall.
The military officers travel in Total cars and ammunition and rations for
the regiment are transported by Total helicopters. Although the regimental
commander and company commanders are well off, soldiers are finding hard to
make ends meet with a meager salary of kyat 600 [Burmese monetary unit] so
Pvt Soe Soe took his wife and deserted.


November 15, 1996
By Tim Healy and Santha Oorjitham, Singapore 

Flak files over charges of GIC drugs links

FOR Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, the press conference called by
oppositionist Chee Soon Juan on Oct 31 may have been the last straw. Chee,
Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party, had urged the
government to answer charges in an Australian TV program that Singapore was
linked with a Myanmar drug lord through its investments. Goh chided Chee for
quickly jumping "on the side of foreign interests" with criticisms of the

The PM's remarks came shortly after Singapore issued a six-page statement
rejecting the allegation that it had helped Myanmar drug lords launder
money. The statement also took a swipe at Chee: "This is the third time (he)
has joined foreign interest groups to attack Singapore." It cited Chee's
neutral posture during the furor last year over the hanging of Filipino maid
Flor Contemplation, as well as his support for self-exiled politician
Francis Seow and American academic Christopher Lingle when the two harshly
criticized Singapore.

The latest controversy stems from a documentary aired on Oct 12 by the
Australian Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). Chee and another
oppositionist, Singapore Malay National Party Secretary-General Jafar Ahmad,
urged the government to answer the show's claim that "Singapore was linked
to drug lord Lo Hsing Han in investments in (Myanmar)." Lo has reputedly
been involved in the narcotics trade for well over two decades. Is the SBS
charges were false, said the oppositionists, Singapore should "lodge an
official protest with the Australian government and demand the station
publicly apologize to out nation."

Singapore authorities acknowledged that the Government of Singapore
Investment Cooperation (GIC) did have a 21.5% steak in the $39-million
Myanmar Fund. According to the television program, the fund owns 5.5% each
of the Traders and Shangri-La hotels in Yangon, which SBS says Lo has
partial steaks in. Asked by Asiaweek if GIC knew by investment in the fund
that it might be sharing investments with a reputed drug lord, officials
decided to go beyond the government statement. GIC aims to achieve long-term
returns on government assets it manages by investing internationally.
Singapore won't say how much money GIC controls, only that the amount is
part of the nation's $72 billion in foreign reserves.

Chee said he would not endorse or verify the Australian TV program's content
but wanted his government to respond. However, said the authorities, Chee
"failed to state that he himself appeared in (the program) and that SBS used
his words to support its attack on the government." In a Nov 6 press
release, the SBS said that the statement by Chee on its program did not
result from an interview, but had been edited in from earlier speeches by
the oppositionist.

In fact, the public's attention was being drawn to the normally low-profile
GIC even without the SBS hubbub. Last week, GIC Asia-Pacific manager Taw
Cheng Knog was charged with eight counts of corruption involving $1.7
million. The government alleges that he had been bribed to buy shares in
eight companies on behalf of GIC between 1991 and August this year. After an
application by Taw's counsel, the case was adjourned until Jan 10. (AW)


November 14, 1996

Mystery surrounds a major drug bust in the Burmese border town of Tachilek
in late September, in which local police are said to have seized heroin
worth $8 million. The heroin allegedly came from Panghsang, the headquarters
of the United Wa State Army near the Chinese frontier. The Rangoon
authorities, usually eager to publicize drug seizures to fend off criticism
that they're not doing enough to stem the flow of narcotics from the Golden
Triangle, have made no official announcement. The omission could mean that
the seizure was made by a local commander and is the outcome of a local
business dispute. But it's also possible that Rangoon doesn't want to upset
the Wa Army, which made peace with the government in 1989. The Wa, who
participate in the constitution-drafting National Convention in Rangoon,
have threatened to pull out of the  convention if their demands for local
autonomy are not met. (FEER)


November 14, 1996
By Bertil Lintner in Chiang Mai, Thailand

For most of this year, more hope than heroin has flowed from the drug
producing region known as the Golden Triangle. The surrender in January of
opium warlord Khun Sa, along with thousands of his troops, raised real
expectations that the triangle's deadly trade would be curbed. Now, as the
poppy fields are cleared ahead of the next planting, the high seems as
fleeing as a junkie's hit, about to be replaced by a low even more
depressing than before.

Khun Sa's peace deal with the Burmese government was followed by the first
heroin shortage in recent memory. Drug prices in the northern Thai city of
Chiang Mai surpassed 500,000 baht ($19,600) a kilogram, more than quadruple
their year-earlier levels. On October 1, Col Ngwe Soe Tun, joint secretary
of the Burmese government's Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, said
all the signs pointed to "a decrease of the opium crop".

Outside sources, however, paint a very different picture. Intelligence data
gathered from the forbidden mountains of northern Burma by the US State
Department suggests opium production is increasing, not falling. According
to the department's annual opium survey, this year's harvest yielded 2,560
tons, 9% more than last year. And the area being prepared for next year's
crop seems just as big - at roughly 64,000 hectares, it is almost double the
area under cultivation 10 years ago.

Worse, the United States believes Khun Sa remains unpunished and that
Burma's junta, known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council or
Slorc, is actively nurturing him. "This is just another example in what has
become a pattern for the Slorc: protecting narco-traffickers and harnessing
their drug money for projects that do little to improve the lives of the
Burmese people," says Robert Gelbard, the US assistant secretary of state
for international narcotics and law-enforcement affairs. "I'm afraid that
Burma's immediate neighbors, in particular, are going to pay a growing
price for the SLORC's lawless behavior."

There is plenty of evidence that Khun Sa is still playing his deadly trade.
Former associates of the warlord say he has adopted the Burmese name U Htet
Aung and is living in  a lakeside compound in Rangoon. "But he is far from
out of the dope business, regardless of what the government wants to tell,"
declares a Western narcotics-intelligence analyst.

Those close to Khun Sa when he was headquartered at Ho Mong, just across the
border from Thailand's Mae Hong Son province, agree. "There are no more big,
centralized opium refining centers in the Ho Mong area any more, says one
former associate of Khun Sa. "But smaller, more mobile refineries have been
established all over the place. Khun Sa's people pay the Burmese a few
hundred thousand kyats to stay out of a particular area for a couple of
weeks," he says, referring to the Burmese army. "Then, they make heroin
there for a while, and move on." At Loi Khi Lek, near the Salween River,
both local tribal sources and Western drug enforcement officials say
government troops have even been hired to guard the local heroin factory,
currently the biggest anywhere near the Thai border.

After hitting an all-time high at the beginning of the year, the price of
heroin in Chiang Mai has come down to 270,000 baht per kilogram. It is still
higher than last year, because, narcotics officials say, there is more
demand, particularly in China and even in Rangoon. There are now more than
500,000 heroin addicts in China," with young people accounting for more than
70% of the total," according to an official Chinese report.

China is also rapidly replacing Thailand as the main transit country for
drugs from the Burmese sector of the Golden Triangle. In March, police in
the coastal province of Guangdong seized in a single raid more than 300
kilograms of heroin that had come by car from northern Burma.
"Four-wheel-drives ply between the Burmese border and the coast, where
speedboats are waiting," says an American drug official. "It's out of control."

The northern-Burma routes to China have long been monopolized by heroin
lords who once were commanders of the now-defunct Communist Party of Burma,
which made peace with Rangoon in 1989. Their peace agreement seems to have
served as a model for Khun Sa's own deal with Rangoon: Stop fighting, gain
in return, the right to trade freely in any commodity. In July, the US
embassy in Rangoon said the cease-fire between Khun Sa and the Burmese
government "has allegedly resulted in large cash inflows into the legal

Thai intelligence sources say that shortly after Khun Sa's surrender, 600
million baht was transferred to Rangoon from various financial institutions
in Thailand. In Hong Kong in May, one of Khun Sa's daughter, Apawee
Apitummakoob, was detained in suspicion of  handling laundered drug money.
She was released when all charges were dropped on September 6, after the
prosecution unsuccessfully sought more time to investigate. During court
hearings, Apawee claimed that a sum of HK$33 million that was at the center
of the investigation had been donated to her father's "liberation struggle"
by a now-deceased "philanthropist" from Taiwan. 

In February, a month after Khun Sa's move from Ho Mong to Rangoon, 10 new
companies were registered at an obscure address in the capital: a virtually
empty room in a townhouse with little more than a sign and a letterbox
outside. "The only commercial activity anywhere in the vicinity was a guy
selling cigarettes and candy at the stall outside the building," says a
recent visitor to the house. "This is Khun Sa's business front in Rangoon,"
says the US drug-enforcement official.

Burmese government officials openly admit that Khun Sa has even been awarded
an official contract to run buses between major cities in Burma. Former
associates of Khun Sa add that one of his sons, Sam Seun, is in charge of a
major project near Tachilek, at the apex of the Golden Triangle. They say he
has just leased an 18-hectare plot and plants to invest with a casino, a
200-room hotel and other entertainment facilities."

Other associates of Khun Sa are said to have linked up with former heroin
trade rival Lin Mingxin, now one of the most prosperous of the ex-Communist
Party commanders who have made deals with Rangoon. Old animosities seem to
have been forgotten - Khun Sa's former chief of staff, Chang Shuchuan, is
reported to have invested in a casino at Mong La, Lin's headquarters, which
is described as "hub of heroin trafficking, gambling and prostitution," by
sources in Chiang Mai.

Most of Lin's heroin is exported to China, with an increasing amount going
to Vietnam via Laos. The growing Vietnamese market already consists of an
officially estimated 200,000 addicts and other countries in the region are
also being hit. There are now over 1,000 known new addicts a month in
Malaysia and Burmese narcotics are readily available in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Yet, perhaps to avoid upsetting delicate relations with Rangoon, no
government in the region has spoken out against the new drug epidemic, nor
mentioned official Burmese complicity in the trade. Even official Chinese
documents carefully refrain from mentioning Burma as the main supporter of
heroin in Asia.

The main problem, as Western law-enforcement officials see it, is the
Rangoon government's attitude to drug money. As the US embassy report
concludes: "Companies associated with narcotics-cultivating and
narcotics-trafficking groups operate openly in Burma." Barriers between
legal and illegal business deals, it adds, have been eroded because of the
government's policy of "openly welcoming investment without any
consideration of the likely original source of the funds." That, in turn,
may help explain the warm welcome that has been extended to Khun Sa in Rangoon.

As far as the US government is concerned, no warm welcome will be extended
to Slorc. As a major part of its policy in the region, US Secretary of State
Warren Christopher used the ASEAN Ministerial Conference in July to
challenge Asian Nations to address the problem.

"As the rule of law deteriorates in Burma, the threat its heroin trade poses
to our nation is growing," he said. "Major drug traffickers receive
government contracts and launder money with impunity in state banks. The
warlord, Khun Sa, remains unpunished. The longer the political impasse
continues, the more entrenched the drug trade will become. (FEER)


November 8, 1996
Mae Sot, Tak

About 30 armed members of the renegade Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA)
yesterday crossed the border and robbed three Thai stores and 11 Karens of
cash, dried food and goods worth about 50,000 baht.

The raiders, armed with M16 and AK47 assault rifles, were led by Lt Ta Ner.
They crossed the border into Wang Takhian village, Tambon Tha Sayluad, in
Mae Sot district at about 2 a.m.

They threatened villagers before ransacking three stores and 11 refugee
quarters, said 56-year-old local leader Rupee.

After the looting they also threatened to burn the village if Karen refugees
sheltered in a camp refused to return to Burma.

Before retreating to Wangkha camp in Burma the DKBA guerrillas fired several
shots in the air to frighten villagers.

Mrs Thong Jaisrikham, 57, a store operator, was robbed of liquor, dried
food, cash and valuables worth 10,000 baht.

Anucha Wongwai, 36, said the raiders ransacked his store and took all his
cash and other belongings worth 10,000 baht.

He said he was now left with no cash to pay the medical bills of his ailing
son. (BP)


November 8, 1996

Rangoon - Burma will issue visas on arrival for tourists wishing to attend
ceremonies making the government's tourism campaign which kicks off on
November 18, the official press said yesterday.

Tourist visas will be issued on arrival at international airports in Rangoon
and the northern city of Mandalay to mark the Visit Myanmar Year
celebrations, the English-language New Light of Myanmar announced. (BP) 


November 8, 1996  (slightly abridged)

   BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ One of Burma's most powerful generals
has accused ``despicable'' people, an apparent reference to Nobel
laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, of trying to wreck the military
government's ``Visit Myanmar Year'' tourism campaign.
   ``Without consideration for the welfare of the country and the
people, low intelligent and despicable people are spreading false
and disparaging reports about the country,'' Gen. Khin Nyunt, head
of the secret police and chairman of the tourism development
committee, said in Friday's state-run New Light of Myanmar, seen in
   Although he rarely mentions her by name, Khin Nyunt was
apparently referring to Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner
who leads the country's pro-democracy movement and has asked
tourists not to come and business not to invest in Burma until the
generals return power to the people.
   Visit Myanmar Year 1996 will officially begin Nov. 18, after
more than 10 months of delays because necessary infrastructure to
handle an influx of tourists was not in place.
   ``Unscrupulous person and organizations are spreading rumors
that Visit Myanmar Year will not be successful, and also
discouraging investment saying that the people do not benefit from
such investments,'' Khin Nyunt said.
   The military government, which some analysts say has a cash-flow
problem because of its increasing military spending, is counting on
a projected quarter million tourists and their money to help boost
its foreign reserves.
   Suu Kyi and other democracy activists have said that Burma's
people have suffered greatly to build the infrastructure necessary
for tourism. Critics say the government uses forced labor on many
road- and rail-building projects.


November 8 (abridged)

    RANGOON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Burma's military government
tolerates democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi only because her
father was a national hero, a commentary in state-run media said
on Friday.
    'I think the state is tolerating false, vile and slanderous
assailings by her because she is a daughter of Bogyoke (General)
Aung San, the father of the Tatmadaw (armed forces),' said a
commentary in the official New Light of Myanmar (Burma).
    Aung San was the architect of Burma's independence from
Britain. He is considered a national hero and a martyr after he
and eight others were assassinated in 1947 as they planned for
the handover of an independent Burma from Britain.
    Suu Kyi, who was two years old when Aung San was
assassinated, has often said her father inspired her to fight
for democracy for Burma.