[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Bumper opium harvest predicted

Opposition praises junta's courage 
Thai authorities begin repatriation of 14 exiled dissidents 
Bumper opium harvest predicted

South China Morning PostThursday May 28 1998

Opposition praises junta's courage 

Polls apart: more than 30 exiled activists protest outside the Burmese
Embassy in Bangkok, demanding that the result of 1990's elections be
honoured by Burma's ruling junta. 
AGENCIES in Rangoon 
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday saluted the ruling military
for its courage in allowing a celebration of the eighth anniversary of her
party's overturned 1990 election victory. 
Amid tightened security involving riot police, more than 400 opposition
members, including 40 National League for Democracy (NLD) MPs and a host
of diplomats, gathered for the ceremony at her residence. 
But NLD leaders said 320 delegates had been detained in various parts of
the country to keep them from attending. Witnesses also said late-comers
were denied entry by the military, which had blocked the street. 
A political prisoner was also beaten to death and at least seven others
badly injured by guards breaking up a hunger strike marking the election
anniversary, dissident exiles reported. 
Aung Kyaw Moe, believed to be 29, was serving a 14-year sentence at
Tharyarwaddy Prison, 200 km north of Rangoon, for his involvement in
student protests in December 1996, the All Burma Students Democratic Front
said. It said a hunger strike was also under way at another prison. 
In a speech to the crowd yesterday, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi praised the junta
for relenting after earlier issuing warnings not to hold the celebrations. 
"The fact that this anniversary gathering has come about is not only a
victory for the NLD, but also for the military authorities," she said. "I
salute their courage. 
"This is an example of what can be accomplished when both sides seek
accommodation through amicable discussion and co-ordination. 
"In this way, major problems facing the nation can be successfully
solved," she said, adding that it was time for the military to honour the
outcome of the 1990 election. 
"If you truly have the interests of the nation at heart, you need to
speedily implement the results of the 1990 general election," the Nobel
peace laureate said. 
Burma's opposition, under the banner of the NLD, won a landslide victory
in the polls held on May 27, 1990, but the junta refused to recognise the
result, forcing many to flee the country or face imprisonment. 
Ms Aung San Suu Kyi also urged the Government to begin dialogue with
opposition groups immediately, saying it was the only way the country
could solve its political and economic problems. 
"It is an historical responsibility, the ardent desire of the people and
the need of the nation," she said, adding the move would be a "courageous
one" for the junta. 
But earlier calls for dialogue by the opposition have met with scorn or
accusations the NLD are the real stumbling block to any talks. 
A senior junta official said yesterday the Government had tried to
initiate discussion with the NLD, but opposition forces had "no interest
in maintaining peace and stability in the country".

Thursday May 28 1998

Thai authorities begin repatriation of 14 exiled dissidents 

Thai authorities have started repatriating 14 exiled Burmese dissidents,
including a close aide to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Foreign
Ministry spokesman said yesterday. 
"We are in the process of repatriating them. Some have already been sent
back," spokesman Kobsak Chutikul said. 
A Thai court on Friday convicted exiled Burmese politician Thein Oo and 13
students of illegally entering and staying in Thailand and ordered their
deportation, court officials said. 
"Thailand has taken all necessary measures to ensure their safety in close
co-operation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees," Mr
Kobsak said. 
UNHCR officials, who were allowed to interview the group at the weekend,
said all had requested repatriation. 
"They were interviewed and they all asked to be deported," a UNHCR
spokesman said. "Just exactly what will happen after that is another
The spokesman said the UNHCR did not know the whereabouts of the group.
The dissidents had submitted a letter refusing the UNHCR's assistance. 
"The UNHCR respects the wishes of the group of 14, and assumes they have
exercised an informed choice," the spokesman said. 
The Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it would abide by a UN refugee
agency ruling on whether the exiled Burmese politician and other activists
would be expelled. 
They were arrested after a police raid on a house in a Bangkok suburb on
Wednesday, when police also seized three computers and documents related
to the opposition movement. 
Police said they did not know before the raid who Mr Thein Oo was. The
raid was part of a wider government crackdown on illegal foreign workers
aimed at easing unemployment. 
Mr Thein Oo was elected to parliament under Ms Aung San Suu Kyi's National
League for Democracy banner in 1990 elections, the results of which were
overturned by the Burmese military regime.

The Nation (May 28, 1998)
Bumper opium harvest predicted
AN ESTIMATED 700 tonnes of heroin will be produced this year, Thai
authorities said after anti-narcotics police arrested a Malaysian with 8
kilogrammes of heroin at Bangkok airport as he was about to board a flight
to Amsterdam. 
The estimate came in the face of an official forecast of bumper opium
crops of up to 2,500 to 3,000 tonnes a year in 1998 and 1999. The quantity
of the harvest is sufficient to produce 700 tonnes of heroin a year,
police said. 
The Golden Triangle, an area bordering Thailand, Laos and Burma, is known
as the hub for opium growing and heroin production. Thailand has denied
that heroin is produced within its borders, pointing an accusing finger
instead at neighbouring Burma. However, the country still remains one of
the world's main transit routes for the drug. 
Anti-narcotics police said heroin runners have resorted to
high-technology, including using satellite communications to arrange a
rendezvous at sea, plan escape routes and detect drug agents. 
Police also made an informed guess that drug runners might have struck
deals with buyers on the Internet, or will soon do so. 
Malaysian Nin-heng Lau, 36, who arrived in Thailand on Monday, was
arrested the following day at Bangkok international airport with the
heroin, police said, adding that he had picked up the drugs from another
Malaysian at Pratunam before heading for his flight at Don Muang airport. 
Amphetamines, known locally as ya ba, have been the focus of the
authorities' crackdown on illicit drugs. 
The Nation

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.)