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BurmaNet News December 23, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------     
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"     
The BurmaNet News: December 23, 1997        
Issue #898

Noted in Passing:
	They said they were a military government and they were not going 
	to bring in democracy yet. - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi  


By Deborah Charles 

BANGKOK, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Over the past five weeks Burma's military
government has changed its name, abolished the former ruling council, fired
some ministers and reshuffled others in an effort to clean up its image and
try to revitalise the ailing economy. 

Rangoon-based diplomats and political analysts said on Monday that all the
changes taken since mid-November, some of which came as a complete surprise,
seemed to have one main goal -- to bolster the country's sagging economy. 

``They needed to root out corruption and needed to kick-start the economy,''
said one diplomat. 

Another diplomat agreed, saying the country's top generals -- who retained
their positions even after the State Law and Order Restoration Council 
(SLORC) was abolished -- realised they had to make some changes. 

``I think SLORC looked around at its neighbours and asked how they had 
sunk so low and how they could get out of it,'' said the second diplomat. 
``Now they're trying to realise some of their economic potential. They're 
trying to enhance their economic performance.'' 

Burma, one of the world's least developed nations, is struggling to control
spiralling inflation, estimated between 30 and 40 percent a year, a plunging
currency and rising budget deficits caused mainly by high military spending. 

The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), which was formed on 
November 15 in the surprise move that abolished the SLORC and created a 
new government, said on Saturday it had reshuffled several financial ministers. 

Diplomats and political analysts said the changes, which included the finance
minister and the minister in charge of attracting foreign investment, were
meant to better allocate portfolios. 

Brigadier General Win Tin was replaced at the helm of the finance ministry by
former energy minister Khin Maung Thein, who was credited with bringing
billions of dollars in foreign investment in oil projects into the country. 

``The new finance minister is a proven performer and a technocrat,'' said the
second diplomat. ``He has a track record and he can get the job done.'' 

Analysts were split on the future of Brigadier General David Abel, the veteran
Minister for National Planning and Development who played a key role in wooing
foreign investment to Burma since the economy opened up after SLORC seized
power in 1988. 

Some say his new post as Minister in the Office of the Chairman of the SPDC is
a move sideways to a ``nothing job'' and was requested by Abel.  Others say it
could give him more influence because he would have the ear of SPDC chairman
and prime minister Senior General Than Shwe. 

Analysts noted that none of the civilians in the 41-member cabinet had been
fired -- a sign that the government realised that some of the top technocrats
were among the most capable members of the cabinet. 

One of the major changes when the SPDC was formed last month was the decision
to make the cabinet separate from the ruling council. Only Than Shwe is on
both the council and in the cabinet. 

Under the SLORC arrangement several ministers and council members overlapped. 

The change to SPDC also weeded out the almost all the officers with the senior
rank of lieutenant-general, thus easing problems caused by certain ministers
pulling rank on others. 

Several of the ousted ministers, seen by diplomats as being among the more
corrupt cabinet members, were moved to an Advisory Group which was later
dissolved. Diplomats said that helped clean up the image of the government,
which was widely accused of corruption. 

``Now it's clear. The SPDC is the supreme organ of the state but there is
opportunity there now for change through the cabinet,'' said the second

All diplomats and political analysts were certain of one thing -- there was
little expectation that the changes would herald an easing of relations
between the opposition led by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi 
and the government. 

``There's not any preconceived idea of a change to the political policy of the
government,'' said the first diplomat.


December 22, 1997  (abridged)

LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi 
said in an interview published on Monday the military government was as 
determined as ever to hang on to power and rebuff pressure for democracy. 

Britain's Guardian newspaper said the interview took place at Suu Kyi's home
in Rangoon just days after several of her colleagues in the National League
for Democracy (NLD) were sentenced to lengthy jail terms and the military
authorities accused the NLD of scaring away foreign investors. 

``I don't know if they (the military government) are nervous, but they
certainly seem as if they are on the defensive,'' said Suu Kyi, the NLD leader. 

``Why else would they say it is the NLD's fault that foreign investment is not
coming in?'' 

The Guardian said six NLD leaders were summoned to a meeting with the
government last Thursday from which Suu Kyi was excluded. 

``They said they were a military government and they were not going to bring
in democracy yet,'' Suu Kyi said. 

``They said they don't like us giving out statements, and that action could be
taken against us. They want us gagged, bound and impotent.'' 


December 22, 1997

DAWN GWIN CAMP, Thai-Burma Border (AP) - A decade ago they were 
among Burma's best and brightest, young idealists on the road to becoming 
lawyers, engineers and doctors in what they dreamed would be a democratic 

In that year of revolt, 1988, student activists manned the front lines in the
attempt to bring down entrenched military rule. Some fell to bullets and
bayonets. Others were tortured and imprisoned. And some fled to remote
frontier areas to carry on the fight. 

Today, the hard-core remnants are just hanging on. They live in disease-ridden
jungle camps, dependent on foreign donors and the fickle sympathies of Thai
officials. Although dedication to the cause remains strong, their road seems
headed for a dead end. 

``Some revolutions are long-term, but we believe that all dictators must fall.
So we will never give up our objectives or beliefs,'' said Sai Myint Thu, a
one-time chemical engineering student and now a leader in the All Burma
Students Democratic Front. 

Many have in fact given up. Originally 10,000-strong, the Democratic Front
fighting force has dwindled to 1,700. And some among these hope for asylum 
in the West. 

The international focus isn't on these forlorn guerrillas but rather on Aung
San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize-winner locked 
in an indecisive struggle with Burma's military rulers in the capital, Rangoon.
Her portrait hangs inside many of the guerrillas' huts. 

Camp life is hard, sometimes lethal. The rebel movement's headquarters, once
inside Burma, has been forced to relocate seven times in the past three years
under attack from Burmese troops. Several hundred former students have been

Now, the headquarters is just inside Thai territory in the rugged northwestern
province of Mae Hong Son. 

The Dawn Gwin camp, housing 160 rebels, is a collection of thatch and bamboo
huts on a jungled hillside. Almost inaccessible by vehicle during the rainy
season, the area is rife with malaria and other diseases. Food and medicine,
provided by Western humanitarian groups, are basic. Loneliness and fatalism

No longer devil-may-care students, most of the fighters are now men in their
late 20s or early 30s who haven't been able marry. Only 10 percent of Dawn
Gwin's residents are women, some trying to raise a new generation in the

``I won't return to see my homeland and my family until there is democracy in
Burma. I may die in action,'' Thant Zin Oo said sadly. 

Like most of the guerrillas, he hasn't had contact with his family since 1988.

Their blueprint for a future Burma is not be detailed and the jargon of
leftist causes is sometimes used. But the aims are clear: an end to 35 years
of military rule, free elections, reconciliation between ethnic Burmans and
the country's many ethnic minorities. 

The Democratic Front operates out of nine camps, seven along the Thai border
and one each on the Chinese and Indian frontiers. 

They mingle with more than 150,000 other refugees, mainly from ethnic minority
groups that once battled Burma's government seeking autonomy. 

The Burmese army has forged cease-fires with most of the groups, leaving the
Karen National Union as the only major military opposition - and one the ex-
students still depend on for weapons and protection. 

Thailand plays a chameleon-like role. Officially it maintains good relations
with Burma's government, and the rebels are sometimes harassed, jailed or
forced to pay bribes. Yet, the Thai government allows rebel camps and offices
on its territory, and some officials are openly supportive. 

The rebellion has been hampered from the beginning by its division into a
welter of resistance movements. Although they nominally operate under the
umbrella of a self-styled government-in-exile, the National Coalition
of the Union of Burma, the groups have never forged a unified command. 

``Some governments and NGOs would prefer to deal with and support one united
group. They are confused,'' said Sai Myint Thu, the Democratic Front leader,
sitting on a bamboo bench outside his makeshift hut. 

Night falls and parents teach their children Burmese reading by candlelight.
The clatter of an old typewriter is replaced by the sounds of the enveloping
forest, and music. 

``I am a rock, I am an island,'' someone sings the Simon and Garfunkel song,
along with other protest anthems of the 1960s. It lends an aura of the past to
a place where the words ``comrades'' and ``revolution'' are often heard. 

The onetime students, some of whom count battered guitars among their only
possessions, have composed four cassettes worth of songs about democracy,
patriotism and suffering. 

``Like a little bird deprived of a license to fly,'' one goes. ``Though full-
fledged, our lives are little appreciated. We're just young outcasts.'' 


December 26, 1997

Nearly a year after becoming secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi
Annan travelled to, Kuala Lumpur during ASEAN's informal summit. It was the
first visit to Malaysia by a head of the world body in a dozen years.

Excerpt from an interview with Correspondent Santha Oorjitham:.


On Myanmar, our request is simple: that the government should allow civil
groups and political parties a bit of room to maneuver, and to permit Aung
San Suu Kyi the sort of freedom that any political leader can expect. What
is important is that since the end of the Cold War, no regime pretends to be
guided by any other principle except democracy. So we should encourage all
to accept that the real legitimate authority for democratic government is
the will of the people, and to accept human rights and the rule of law.


December 22, 1997

The secretary-general of the United Nations has the legitimate
right to use his good office on the issue of Burma. And Kofi
Annan was also right in choosing an Asean capital to talk to the
Burmese ruling generals. But a new election in Burma is in
consistent with the UN resolution which was passed by consensus
on Nov 24, 1997.

The General Assembly was gravely concerned that Rangoon still has
not implemented its commitment to take all necessary steps
towards democracy in light of the results of the election held in
1990. Mr Annan was also asked to continue his discussions with
Rangoon in order to assist in the implementation of the present
resolution. There is no question of a fresh election.

The Cambodian experiment is not applicable to Burma. The 1990
election was not sponsored by the UN. It was held according to
the election laws of the regime. But it was quite fair. Fairness
and impartiality are not in question. The problem is the result
was not honoured. If a new election is called and not honoured,
how can it help?

The NLD (election winner) has been asking for a dialogue. The UN
resolutions also call for it. The problem is the military regime
refuses substantive dialogue with the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi.
It is part of Mr Annan's obligations to create a window for the 
dialogue between Ms Suu Kyi and the SPDC. Solving the problems
through dialogue is also accepted by the UN, the NCGUB (the
legitimate government in exile) and all democratic opposition groups.

The media reports said Gen Than Shwe accepted the proposal of Mr
Annan and would talk to the NLD and Ms Suu Kyi. But past
experience shows the Burmese military regime does not keep its
promises. There was no notable sign of democratisation under
Slorc. The new council, SPDC, is saying its objectives are peace
and development. But before Burma becomes more  devastated, the
narco-military rule must end immediately.

Tint Swe


December 22, 1997  (slightly abridged)
by  Nattaya Chetchotiros

Swapping academic robes for mantle of public office, he readily admits he has 
been a harsh critic of others from the relative security of his academic
ivory tower, 
but now he is in the public domain he is prepared to suffer the slings and

An outspoken academic who eight years ago  generated a great deal
of animosity among  the staff of the Foreign Ministry is today
accepted by those very same officials as something of a blessing.

Surapong Jayanama, who heads up the Information Department, today
describes M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the new deputy foreign
minister, as an intelligent and shrewd administrator and a courageous 

According to Mr Surapong, M.R. Sukhumbhand's wisdom and ability,
when combined with the resourcefulness of his boss, Foreign
Minister Surin Pitsuwan, should help earn Thailand international
recognition for encouraging Burma to respect human rights.

"I am confident they can help develop another 'golden era' for
the Foreign Ministry through the creation of democracy in Burma,
just as (former foreign minister) Siddhi Savetsila did before in
the case of Cambodia," he said.

M.R. Sukhumbhand was part of the renowned "Ban Phitsanulok" team
that advised Chatichai Choonhavan in 1989 and 1990 when he was
prime minister. It was during this time that the future deputy
minister's conflict with the Foreign Ministry began.

As it became clear M.R. Sukhumbhand had diplomatic strategies in
mind which ran counter in several areas to the official foreign
policy, AGM Siddhi, who had by that time already served 10 years
as foreign minister, began to feel threatened.

The advisory team had arranged a visit-to Bangkok by Cambodia's
then sole prime minister Hun Sen even though his government was
not recognised by Thailand or the other Asean countries. The
arrangement left ACM Siddhi with no other option but to resign.

M.R. Sukhumbhand today says there was nothing personal between
him and the foreign ministry officials.

He says he has great respect for ACM Siddhi, who is the best friend of 
his father, and has sought the former minister's blessings on several 

M.R. Sukhumbhand, 45, a former lecturer at Chulalongkorn
University's Faculty of Political Science and a former director
of the Institute of Security and International Studies, is well
known and accepted by scholars around the region.

He is vocal and is said to be knowledgeable and always ready to
"go to war" over what he feels is not right.

M.R. Sukhumbhand once told the Army under Chavalit Yongchaiyudh,
who later became a defence  minister and then also prime
minister, to "clean up its house'.

He also spearheaded a campaign on behalf of the "Friends of
Anand" Group in support of Anand Panyarachun when the former
prime minister was fighting malfeasance charges brought against
him by a senior judge.

M.R. Sukhumbhand won his first, seat in parliament based on the
results of last year's genera] election. There have been no public objections 
against the "rookie" MP holding the deputy foreign minister post.

"I never dreamed of getting this seat and nor did I jockey for it," he said.

M.R. Sukhumkhand ran for parliament for  the first time in 1995
as a representative in Bangkok for the Nam Thai Party.
He joined the Democrat Party last year and won a seat
representing Bangkok's Constituency 2 in the Nov 17 election.

M.R. Sukhumbhand says he now realises the role of an academic is
completely different to that of a politician.

An academic is responsible only for any damage he does to himself
if he says anything wrong.  A politician, on the other hand, must
think of the whole country.

M.R. Sukhumbhand says he now thinks very carefully before
speaking.  He makes sure he has all essential information to hand
and that his statements will somehow benefit the public.

The decline in the nation's economic and social condition resulted in the 
replacement of the Chavalit administration by that led by Chuan Leekpai, 
and the new government has managed to win the "special sympathy and 
empathy" of the people, according to the deputy minister.

This is why he has never taken a break from work since being
appointed to the cabinet.  Apart from his daily assignments, when he 
is abroad, he tries to initiate special negotiations or deliver speeches.

While in Bangkok, he spends his weekends visiting his constituents.
He also has to spare time for a foundation for poorly educated
people which he chairs.

On foreign policy issues, M.R. Sukhumbhand said he would try to
win the acceptance of European nations for Burma as the "ninth
Asean friend".

Europe's dissatisfaction with Burma's record on human rights and
democracy, and Asean's insistence that Rangoon be represented,
resulted in the indefinite postponement last month of the
scheduled Asean-EU Summit. 
Thailand and the other Asean members refuse to change their
constructive engagement policy towards Burma. But the deputy
foreign minister says Thailand will also maintain contact with
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy. 
Close cooperation with both local and international human rights
organisations and scholars should help support Thailand's efforts
to improve the situation in Burma, he said.

M.R. Sukhumbhand said the recent unprecedented participation of
intelligence chief Khin Nyunt at a seminar of non-government
organisations and academics in Burma was a  good sign. 
Although he did not say whether the Army has "cleaned up its
house", the deputy minister is confident he can work with the
military because,  as  chairman of the Joint Thai-Burmese Border
Commission, he has received the close cooperation of  the armed
forces in terms of information.



A CROWD of 100 Thai protesters began yesterday a sit-in protest
in some of the country's few remaining areas of virgin forest
threatened by a pipeline planned to bring natural gas from Burma,
an environmentalist said.

The protesters, carrying tents and supplies, took up  positions
in the jungles of the central province of Kanchanaburi close to
the Burmese border, in a bid to seal off the forest and stop
construction of the pipeline there.

Boonsong Chansongrasami, a local environmental activist, said
they will stay in the forest until there are talks geared at
changing the route of the pipeline, or until the cabinet reviews
its decision to let the pipeline take its currently-planned
course.  We have to protect our environment, which will never be
the same again if it is  destroyed," he said.

Work on sensitive areas of forest near Burma, which is a natural
habitat to endangered species and includes six kms of pristine
jungle, is due to start soon, although it was unclear exactly
when. The protesters want to protect  about 50 kms of forest. 
PTT argues that  Thailand  will face a Bt30 million fine for
every day the Thai section of pipeline is overdue.


December 7, 1997

1. The so-called State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), in the new name
of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), issued an order
(Order No 1/97) regarding Commutation and Remission of Sentences on 1st
December, 1997.  This order seems to be merely a public relations act on the
part of the newly formed SPDC government to gain credit among people in
Burma as well as the international community.

2. In fact, prisoners who are now serving prison sentences of 10 years or
under, are not affected by this commutation and remission of sentences, and
they are still being treated unjustly and brutally by the authorities.  It
is also well known that the SPDC (SLORC) does not even abide by its own
orders and so-called laws, as the military government has already reneged on
its promises to release some political prisoners.

3. All of the political prisoners in the following attached list have been
given remission from their original sentences according to the Order No
(11/92) and Order No (1/93).  Some of them have formally been told they
would be released on (23-3-97) by the prison officers.  They have not also
been given any extended sentence by the prison law in jail.  Though their
sentences are over, they are still being kept in prisons without any proper

4. All of them are political prisoners and some including a 70-year-old
woman have been suffering from tuberculosis, caught in prison. On the day
of their release, as informed by the prison authorities, their families and
relatives waited for them at the gate of each jail, but were ordered to go
back by authorities without being given any reason.  Since they were
arrested, these political prisoners have not been given even any legal right
to defend themselves, and they have been kept under unlawful detention
without any legal protection.

5. Therefore, all pro-democracy organizations and groups struggling against
the military regime, the SPDC (SLORC), are strongly urged to take
appropriate action and to condemn the activities of the military regime, the
SPDC (SLORC), who violate even their own laws and are continuing to treat
political prisoners unjustly.  Furthermore, international organizations and
human rights organizations  are requested to do all in their power to help them.

Information Department
Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS)

The following are political prisoners who were arrested on (18-6-89) and
sentenced by various courts on (6-11-89).  Some were originally sentenced to
7 years/10 years imprisonment respectively. Some of them were given
remission of sentences and commutation to 10 years imprisonment according to
the Order No (11/92) and Order No (1/93). They had been told they would be
released on (23-3-97) but are still being kept under detention.

1. Ko Thein Zaw         	Tha-yar-waddy Jail	 
2. Ko Thet Khaing   	Insein Jail
3. Ko Kyaw Oo Nyo   	Tha-yar-waddy Jail	
4. Ko Zaw Zaw Aung   	Tha-yar-waddy Jail
5. Ko Win Ko Ko	Tha-yar-waddy Jail
6. Ko Shwe Aung Than	Tha-yar-waddy Jail
7. U Aung Pe Thu	Tha-yar-waddy Jail
8. U Aung Than		Tha-yar-waddy Jail
9. U Ye Win		Tha-yar-waddy Jail
10.U Bo Sein		Mandalay Jail
11.U Khin Maung Yin	Tha-yar-waddy Jail
12.Ko Aung Chit		Mandalay Jail
13.Ko Aung Myint Tun	Insein Jail	  
14.Ko Myo Kyi		Tha-yar-waddy Jail
15.U Tin Aung		Insein Jail	   
16.Ko Moe Win		Insein Jail
17.U Win Kyi		Thayarwaddy Jail   
18.Daw Kyi Kyi		Insein Jail
19.Ma Khin Hnin Ye	Insein Jail	   
20.Ma Don		Insein Jail

The following are all political prisoners whose sentences are already over
according to the Order No (11/92) and Order No (1/93) and normal remissions
under the prison act but are still being kept under detention in various
jails in Burma.
NOTE :	According to the prison act, there are, normally, 3 classes of
remission for any prisoner. These are A class (twice a year and 41 days for
one time), B class (twice a year and 32 days for one time) and C class
(twice a year and 23 days for one time). 
	Unless a prisoner violates any prison rule, he/she has a right to be
granted the normal remission from his / her original sentence as follows:
	- in the first year of sentence, B class two times and C class two times
(totally 110 days).
	- in the following years, A class two times per year (82 days).

1.  Ko Ye Win				2.  Ko Thein Zaw
3.  Ko Myo Kyi				4.  Ko Zaw Zaw Aung
5.  Ko Kyaw Oo Nyo			6.  Ko Win Ko Ko
7.  U Win Kyi				8.  U Aung Than
9.  U Aung Pe Thu			10. Ko Kyaw Swe
11. Ko Khin Maung Lay			12. Ko Htay Kywe
13. Ko Shwe Aung Than			14. Ko Aung Kyaw Sein
15. Ko Khin Zaw Oo			16. Ko Mya Win
17. U Saw Win				18. U Tin Aung Aung
19. U Pite Ko				20. U Tin Aye
21. Ko Thar Dun Aung			22. Khaing Pyi Soe
23. U Than Kyaw			24. Ko Kyaw Dun
25. U Pyu Maung				26. U Kaung Kyaw Zan
27. U Kyaw San Maung			28. Ko Kyaw Minn Yu (aka Jimmy)
29. Ko Min Naing Tun			30. Ko Kyaw Oo
31. Ko Aung Moe			32. Ko San Myint Aye
33. Ko Zaw Linn Aung			34. Ko Aung Kyaw Moe
35. Ko Aung Than			36. Ko Moe Kyaw Thu
37. Ko Maung Maung Thin		38. Ko Khin Zaw
39. U Ohn Than				40. Ko Zay Ya
41. Ko Myint Sein

1.  Ko Ricky Than				2.  Ko Richard
3.  Ko Than Myint Shwe				4.  U Khaing Soe
5.  U Tun Win					6.  Ko Moe Win
7.  Ko Phu Thit (aka Ko Aung Myint Tun)		8.  Ma Don
9.  Daw Kyi Kyi					10. Ko Thet Khaing
11. U Tin Aung					12. U Maung Lay
13. U Win Tin					14. Ko Paw Oo Tun
15. Ma Khin Hnin Ye

1.  Ko Aung Chit				2.  U Bo Sein
3.  Ko San Aung

1. Ko Win Myint Naing

1.  Ko Bo Bo Oo				2.  Ko Thet Tun
3.  Ko Khin Maung Yin

1.  Ko Ko Gyi				2.  Ko Bo Kyi
3.  Ko Nyo Tun				4.  Ko Nyein Chan ( aka Nyi Pu Lay )
5.  Saw Thawmas			6.  Bo Tha Khu
7.  Bo Tha Gaung


December 14, 1997  (abridged)

(This border report was sent from someone who was recently travelling along
 the Thai-Burma border. He/she prefers to remain anonymous)

First two weeks of December, 1997

The southern half of the Mae Sot to Mae Sariang highway (from Mae Sot 
north to Mae Salit) has a number of permanent checkpoints and security 
posts in several locations. These are usually manned by border patrol and 
army staff, but rarely do they stop and check public passenger cars.

Recently however, Thai authorities have set-up a number of temporary 
roadblocks and checkpoints. Every public transport vehicle is stopped, and 
passengers who cannot produce a valid Thai identification card are arrested 
and detained.  As I travelled along the border on December 2-3, I saw several 
groups of people being taken off public transportation and detained. 

56 km north of Mae Sot, 4 kms south of Mae La refugee camp (also known as 
Beh Klaw), there is a checkpoint which has been manned but generally inactive 
for the last four months.  On Dec 2nd, however, the Army was stopping every 
car. Between 10 and 12 armed soldiers were on duty.

At the time I passed through, there were between 120 and 150 men, women and 
children huddled together behind a barbed wire fence, with soldiers holding 
assault rifles standing over them. There were women with babies and
amongst the group. Almost all the passengers I was travelling with were also 
detained. Everyone without a Thai identity card was detained. I spoke to a
of those behind the barbed wire. Some had been there since 6:00 in the morning 
(I was there at 11:00 a.m.). Requests for food and water had been turned down - 
even for the infants and the elderly. Only one tree provided shade from the sun 
for them.

I found out two days later that the group was deported back to a site known in 
Karen as May Toe D'Lay, south of the Burmese town of Myawaddy (opposite 
Thailand's Mae Sot). At this time the group numbered between 200 and 300. 
They were taken to the Thai side of the Moei River south of Mae Sot and 
ordered to cross back to Burma.

When they reached the Burma side of the river, they were met by a platoon 
of DKBA soldiers (between 10 and 12 men). (The DKBA - the Democratic 
Karen Buddhist Army - is a faction of the Karen Army, which broke away from 
their comrades and allied itself to the Burmese Army in late 1994). One group
of the deportees  explained to the DKBA that they were villagers from an area 
near the border opposite Thailand's Ban Mae La (60 kms north of Mae Sot). 
They asked the DKBA soldiers if they could return to their village via
as they feared travelling through Burmese Army-patrolled areas on the Burmese 
side of the border. The DKBA reportedly  replied, "You are Karen, we are Karen. 
We are the same. Yes, you can go."

The group - 1 woman, 2 young men, a young woman and a young boy - then 
crossed back into Thailand and walked back to Mae Sot and headed north again
on a passenger truck towards their village. They got off the passenger car
the checkpoint, and started the 15 kilometer journey by foot back to their
on the Burma side.

What happened to the rest of the  200 to 300 deportees is not known.

On Wednesday, November 19th, Thai Army soldiers had detained more than 500 
Karen and Burmese at  various checkpoints north of Mae Sot and at surrounding 
farms and villages, and driven them in trucks to a point on the Thai side of
Moei River just slightly north of Mae Sot, in order to deport them. The Thai
then told  the detainees to cross the river back to Burma. Burmese soldiers
waiting to receive them on the Burmese side of the river. Reports from people 
arrested at that time, who managed to escape from the Burmese soldiers, tell of 
similar detaining  procedures - arrested by Thai soldiers, being kept in a
wire enclosure on the  side of the road, and being denied food and water.

This brief account attempts to illustrate the increased activities of Thai
along the border road north of Mae Sot.  A large number of new checkpoints have
been set up.  Furthermore, the policy of detaining large numbers of people in 
inhumane conditions, and deporting them back into the direct hands of their 
Burmese counterparts is a worrying development. Round-ups of illegal immigrants 
in urban centres is a regular occurrence in the Mae Sot area, but capturing
and others without valid identification papers just outside a refugee camp
and in 
other remote locations shows the determination of local Thai authorities to
a much stricter policy  of controlling the refugee populations. Previously,
were allowed to travel into the surrounding areas - forests, villages and
farms - 
in order to find natural resources and daily work. These activities were
by local Thai agencies as necessary daily routines.

Recent policy changes in the Mae Sot area have meant that refugees, in 
principle, are not allowed outside their camps, but this in general has not 
been strictly enforced up to now. 

Two reasons may be cited for the current policy enforcement towards Tak 
Province's refugee communities and illegal migrants:

1. The warming of the economic and political relationship between recent 
Thai administrations and the SLORC (aka SPDC); and,

2. Due to the current economic decline, the more menial positions once left 
for the illegal workforce to fill may now, once again, be fit for Thailand's 
growing unemployed.


December 21, 1997

Dear Friends of Burma,


It's been more than nine years since we began our fight against the
dictatorship in Burma during which countless freedom fighters of
all kinds laid down their lives on the streets and in the jungles
and many more are still languishing in prisons across the country. 

Their sacrifices and your unwavering support and commitment have 
brought us to where we are today, just a few steps from realizing our
objectives. The extent of oppression in Burma is now well known worldwide,
and in Burma there is now at least the  possibility of a genuine political
dialogue. However, as we are all aware, there is still a long way to go.

As we approach ten years since the historic events of 1988, we 
believe that we now have a timely opportunity to bring lasting 
democratic reforms to Burma. For this to happen, we must work 
together both inside and outside the country.  We must redouble 
our efforts in strengthening the political work of pro-democratic
forces within the country and in continuing to raise the issue 
of Burma around the world.

We know that you will all be maintaining your commitment to the
struggle throughout 1998 and contributing to the speedy return 
of peace and democracy in Burma.

We at the ABSDF would like to wish you peace and happiness in 
this holiday season and a joyful and historic New Year!

All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF)


December 22, 1997  (abridged)

On 20 Dec 1997 OKKAR66127@xxxxxxx wrote:
INFORMATION   SHEET  No.A.0255(I)                     21 Dec.1997
(4)More Freighters to be Served Promptly with Opening of Ahlon Wharf No.2
>  The soft opening of Ahlon Wharf No 2 jointly undertaken by Myanma Port 
>Authority and Asia World Co Ltd on a mutually beneficial basis took place at 
>the wharf in Kwinchaung, Ahlon Township on 20 December. Ahlon Wharf No 2
> located near Kwinchaung, Ahlon Township, will offer services including freight
> handling, ship maintenance and storage of goods. There is a Customs yard in
> the compound of the wharf. The wharf, 156 metres long, 19.5 metres wide and 16
> metres high, has three pontoon bridges, each 25 metres long and 9.5 metres
> wide. It also has berths for ship with a draught of 9 metres carrying goods
> weighing up to 15,000 tons.

Asia World Co. is chaired by narco-trafficker Lo Hsing Han.  This wharf
project illustrates exactly the partnership between SPADCO[SPDC]/SLORC 
and the drug lords that the world community abhors.  Mock drug seizures and
bonfires have been more in NLM lately, but the real story is the seamless
transportation system, now controlled by Lo and Khun Sa, that runs from
drug-producing areas direct to international shipping.  

Note:  Last weekend in Vancouver, BC there were SEVEN heroin deaths in 24
hours because a new batch of high purity SPADCO [SPDC] heroin hit the streets.
Was it shipped out from Ahlon Wharf Number 2?


22 Dec 1997 

We are pleased to inform you that you can now tune into DVB's program at
our DVB's Web page - http://www.communique.no/dvb.  Our daily broadcast is
uploaded shortly after it is broadcast. You can retrieve all our programs
for the previous two weeks.

Minimum requirements are Realaudio Player Version 2.0 (Latest Version is
5), 386 computer, 8 bit soundcard and speaker.  We are sorry to say that
Internet Explorer users cannot tune into our program for the time being. We
hope to solve this problem in the near future.  You can download Realaudio
player version 5.0 from http://www.realaudio.com for free.

The Democratic Voice of Burma, based in Oslo, Norway, started daily
broadcasts to Burma from 19th July 1992.  The radio license is an
independent media agency of the National Coalition Government of Union 
of Burma (NCGUB).  The DVB aims to promote democracy in Burma by 
non-violent means.

Thin Myat Thu(Thida)
DVB Web Page                            Tel: + 47-22-41 41 43
Democratic Voice of Burma         Fax: + 47-22-36 25 25 (Att: Thida)

                Visit DVB Web Page :  <http://www.communique.no/dvb/>
                       Comments to :  euburma@xxxxxxxxx