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Singapore/Druglord Link Liquidated
FREE BURMA COALITION
225 North Mills Street, The University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706
Phone (608)-827-7734 Fax: (608)-263-9992
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SINGAPORE GOVERNMENT LINK TO BURMESE DRUG LORD "LIQUIDATED"
SINGAPOREAN AND MALAYSIAN INVESTORS URGED TO FOLLOW SUIT
Washington, DC -- November 19, 1997 -- The Singapore Embassy says that a
fund linking the Singapore Government Investment Corporation (GIC) to
Burmese narco-trafficker Lo Hsing Han is being liquidated. This follows
investigative reports on the link by Australian SBS television and The
Nation magazine. Singapore's acknowledgment comes in a letter to The
Nation editor in the Nov. 24 edition.
The GIC is a secretive multi-billion dollar institution with high-level
Singaporean politicians, including Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew, acting as
officers and directors. Lo Hsing Han has long been a key player in the
Burmese drug trade, which supplies 60% of the heroin on US streets,
according to the State Department.
The GIC, through its holdings in The Myanmar Fund (the Fund now under
liquidation), co-invested with Lo in the Traders Hotel in Burma's capital,
Rangoon. The fund also owned 25% of one of Lo's family companies. This
was an embarrassment to Singapore, which purports to take a hard line on
drugs issues. Protesters followed Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chock Tong
during recent visits to Los Angeles and Chicago, calling for him to
respond to State Department criticisms of Singapore investors' ties to Lo.
At a news conference in February, Robert Gelbard, then Assistant Secretary
of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement
Affairs said "Drug traffickers have become the leading investors in
Burma's new market economy and leading lights in Burma's new political
order. Since 1988, over half of (investment) from Singapore has been tied
to the family of narco-trafficker Lo Hsing Han." Singapore has never
responded to the US criticism.
"As long as Singapore continues to play such a key role in supporting
Burma's drug trade through it's investments there, it seems unlikely that
any progress will be made in stemming the increasing flow of heroin from
Burma into Singapore and the rest of the world," says investigative
journalist Leslie Kean, co-author with Dennis Bernstein of "SingaporeÕs
Blood Money" (The Nation, Oct. 20). "Singapore has the potential to have
a huge influence in that regard, and they have taken the first small step
in that direction."
"Perhaps now other Singapore and Malaysian investors will follow suit and
take the same responsibility for their investments, by cutting their ties
to Burma's heroin traffickers," adds Kean, noting that US-based Northwest
Airlines quickly stopped a mileage promotion with the Rangoon Traders
Hotel after learning of Lo's ownership and drug ties.
Contact: Larry Dohrs, Free Burma Coalition, 206-784-5742