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Singapore Links "aiding drug trade"

Hongkong Standard 
May 13, 1998.
Kidnappers tortured me (Hongkong Standard)
8 Million pupils may drop out of school (The Straits Time)
Singapore Links "aiding drug trade" (South China Morning Post)

Kidnappers tortured me, says activist
JAKARTA: Indonesian lawyer Desmond Mahesa told yesterday how he was
abducted at gunpoint and held for two months by members of an organised
group in the second such account to be aired in the country. ``I have to
tell the truth,'' Mr Mahesa said. 
He said he was speaking out even though he was told not to say anything by
his captors because he, his family and friends had been repeatedly
harassed by people who appeared or claimed to be security officials since
his release on 3 April. They wanted to know where he had been. 
His captors, he said, had also threatened him with ``elimination'' should
he speak of his abduction and detention after his release. 
Mr Mahesa, 30, who heads the Nusantara private legal aid foundation, said
he was kidnapped at gunpoint by two men shortly after getting off a public
mini-bus in Central Jakarta on 3 February, blindfolded and driven to an
unknown location where he was interrogated and tortured later that same
day. ``My hands were handcuffed to a chair, my feet were handcuffed . . .
I was given electric shocks, beaten and shoes were shoved into my chest,''
Mr Mahesa said. 
He told his tale at a press conference also attended by a member of the
National Commission on Human Rights, Albert Hasibuan, and four officers
from the national police headquarters. 
Mr Mahesa said he could not give a clear description of his captors as he
had lost his glasses while he was abducted. The kidnappers always showed
up with ski masks, he added. 
Mr Mahesa gave similar details about his abduction as Pius Lustrilanang
who told the commission about his kidnapping in evidence on 27 April. They
were both among several students and activists reported missing only to
reappear later. 
Mr Mahesa said he was questioned about his activities, his parents, his
friends and acquaintances. - AFP 

The Straits Time 										
MAY 13 1998 
8 million pupils may drop out of school 
JAKARTA -- Millions of young pupils may be forced to quit school because
of illness and to help boost family incomes amid Indonesia's financial
woes, a senior official was quoted yesterday as saying. 
"Because of the economic crisis, more and more children are expected to
drop out of school, suffer malnutrition and various diseases, which will
put their lives at risk," Mr Hidayat Syarief, the deputy chairman of the
national development planning board, said, according to The Jakarta Post. 
"And this condition will certainly affect the quality of Indonesian human
resources in the future," he warned at a seminar in the West Java city of
Bogor on Monday. 
The latest predictions were that about eight million elementary and junior
high school pupils across the country may have to drop out, Mr Hidayat
That was much higher than the initial estimate of 2.8 million made earlier
in the crisis last year. 
Barefoot urchins can be seen every day in Jakarta standing in the road,
braving the incessant traffic to sell newspapers to passing drivers. 
Others have taken up musical instruments and burst into popular folk songs
as soon as traffic lights turn red, hoping to earn a few rupiah passed
hastily out of a car or truck. 
Mr Hidayat said many families in rural areas would be forced to remove
their children from school so they can work to boost the family income. 
He urged the government to take immediate action to prevent such a high
drop-out rate, also warning the crisis could lead to an increase in infant
and maternal mortality rates. 
"Seen from the human resources point of view, a social security programme
is needed to assist those facing economic danger," he said. AFP 


South China Morning Post
May 13, 1998.
Singapore links 'aiding drug trade' 

BURMA by William Barnes in Bangkok 
Singapore's links with the Burmese junta are vital in propping up the
military regime and channelling drug profits into legitimate business, an
article claims. 
Although Singapore habitually executes heroin couriers, the Government and
its businessmen had become firm friends with the regime and its
drug-trafficking supporters, said American risk assessment magazine Covert
Action Quarterly. 
Singapore's link with the junta was also central to "the expansion of the
heroin trade", US-based Burmese economics professor Mya Maung told the
The city-state is Burma's biggest trading partner and foreign investor:
more than half that investment is allegedly with ex-heroin kingpin Lo
Hsing-han, whose son Steven Law is banned from the US on suspicion of
The article claimed "both Burmese generals and drug lords have used
Singapore's liberal banking laws and money laundering opportunities". 
In 1991, for example, US$400 million (HK$3 billion) was passed through a
Singapore bank as downpayment for a shipment of mainland arms and, given
the state of Burma's economy then, that money could only have been drug
money, said one military analyst. 
In 1988, Singapore had even shipped arms to Burma amid world condemnation
of a massacre of pro-democracy protesters. 
Singapore had also acted as the middle-man for arms shipments from
countries like Israel and Belgium. 
	A Singaporean Cabinet minister was quoted yesterday as saying his
government rejected Western criticism of Burma. "It is easier to criticise
than to build," Minister of Information and Arts George Yeo said during a
visit to Burma on Monday.

Yours sincerely,
Kyaw Zay Ya

"If you give a man a fish, he will have a meal. 
 If you teach him to fish, he will have a living. 
 If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed. 
 If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree. 
 If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people. 
 By sowing a seed once, you will harvest once. 
 By planting a tree, you will harvest tenfold. 
 By educating the people, you will harvest one hundredfold."  (ANONYMOUS

("If it is not broken, don't fix it" leads to the worst situation.)