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BurmaNet News: August 7, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: August 7, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2001 02:15:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
August 7, 2001 Issue # 1859
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
NOTED IN PASSING: "Please tell them all labor given are voluntary out
of your love for the army."
Lt. Col Myint Maung, Commander LIB 515 coaching villagers in Shan State
on how to answer questions from International Labour Organization
investigators. Shan Herald Agency for News: Shans told to tell
foreigners there's no forced labor
INSIDE BURMA _______
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Shans told to tell foreigners there's no
*Bangkok Post: Ex-MP flees Rangoon to join NLD members-Activist fresh
out of jail vows to fight on
*The Nation: Experts call for urgent removal
*Political Defiance Committee: Electricity in Burma
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Shans fleeing from annual rice purchase
*Xinhua: Myanmar Exports Less Teak, Hardwood in First Quarter
*DVB : SPDC opens four new border trade posts
*Burma Courier: News Buffs Treated to Different Versions of Abduction
*Bangkok Post: Abduction of 7 linked to assassination-Wa's killing
blamed on Fang district chief
*Shan Herald Agency for News: New roads to the border ordered built
*The Asian Age : 'Northeast rebels are funded by few European NGOs'
*Xinhua: Myanmar Designates Some Narcotic Drugs As Illegal Sale
*Kyodo: Myanmar junta unlikely to go without guarantee: Mahahir
*The Economist: A long way from Rangoon
*Bangkok Post: Policemen arrested for smuggling aliens
*Bangkok Post: Is Burma becoming a divided nation?
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
Shan Herald Agency for News: Shans told to tell foreigners there's no
6 August 2001
Shan villagers in several townships have been instructed by military
authorities to inform foreign investigators expected to tour Shan State
soon that forced labor had ended.
On 28 July, Lt. Col Myint Maung, Commander LIB 515 (Laikha) told people
in Mongkerng, 108 miles northeast of Taunggyi, that "foreign"
fact-finding team was expected during the month of August and he "hoped"
the people would give "proper" answers. "Please tell them all labor
given are voluntary out of your love for the army," he reportedly told
the gathering. Sources coming from the area reported that Col. Myint
Maung had already briefed the people of Laikha, 29 miles south, a day
Similar reports were received from Monghsat and Mongton, opposite
Chiangmai and Chiangrai provinces.
Sources from Mongkerng said since June, forced labor had in fact
significantly lessened but, on the other hand, monetary requisitions had
"For instance, each village tract is expected to pay for rent of 10
mules to be used in the army's monthly patrol details," said one.
"Rental for each mule is K. 5,000 per month. So we have to share about
K. 300-500 per household."
According to Rangoon, Burma had ceased the practice of forced labor
since 27 October 2000.
Bangkok Post: Ex-MP flees Rangoon to join NLD members-Activist fresh out
of jail vows to fight on
August 7, 2001
A recently released Burmese member of parliament has fled Rangoon to
join a pro-democracy group at a base opposite Tak province.
Khin Kyaw Han on Sunday went south to Myawaddy where he joined fellow
members of the National League for Democracy.
At a press conference yesterday, he insisted he would not leave the
country and vowed to fight with pro-democracy movements in Burma.
The meeting was organised by Maung Maung Aye, minister for information
of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, and Pado
Mahn Sha Lapan, general secretary of the Karen National Union.
The ex-MP said democracy activists in Burma were under tremendous
pressure from the ruling regime, the State Peace and Development
While welcoming a dialogue between Aung San Suu Kyi and the ruling
junta, he criticised the Burmese military for its lack of sincerity.
The junta should tell the public how the talks were progressing and
release all political prisoners, he said.
The activist claimed 38 MPs elected in May 1990 have died, while another
30 were being held prisoner.
Most of them were under house arrest, including Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD
chairman Aung Swe and vice-chairman Tin Oo.
Khin Kyaw Han was the first to be arrested.
He was charged with destroying state property in September 1990,
convicted and condemned to three years of hard labour at Tae Yae prison,
Khin Kyaw Han was released in February 1995, but was arrested again in
July 1998. He was released again this year on June 28.
The Nation: Experts call for urgent removal
Tue, August 07, 2001
All nine heads of the United Nations relief agencies in Burma have made
a collective plea to their respective organisations and the
international community to urgently lift sanctions against the junta on
With more than 500,000 people HIV-positive and a high maternal mortality
ratio ranging between 230-580 per 100,000 live births, Burma is on the
brink of a humanitarian crisis, they said in a letter sent to all chiefs
of UN agencies operating in the country.
The groups include the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,
Unicef and the World Health Organisation.
The letter said half of the maternal deaths in Burma were due to unsafe
abortions, while about 25 per cent of new-born babies were underweight.
One in three of all Burmese children would be malnourished by the time
they reached the age of five.
"This is compounded by the fact that about 3.6 million children and 1.1
million pregnant women live in areas considered to be at high or
moderate risk for malaria transmission," according to the letter.
The nine UN representatives said humanitarian assistance to Burma was a
moral and ethnical necessity and to deny the country the aid would cause
They called for a dramatic overhaul of budget allocation to Burma, as
well as a cohesive approach between the activities of the UN
organisations operating in Burma and the political initiatives launched
from within the UN system.
Moreover, said the representatives, delayed assistance may also have an
escalating effect on the illicit drug business, resulting in negative
impact on the region as a whole in a wide range of other areas -
including human-trafficking, illegal migration and population
"The current peripheral or piecemeal assistance provided to Myanmar
[Burma] is not
adequate to reverse or even slow down certain negative trends," the
letter said. Burma receives about US$1 (Bt45) per capita annually,
compared with $35 for Cambodia and $68 for Laos.
The representatives pointed out HIV/Aids, illicit drugs and food
security as the top three areas that needed utmost attention.
Although the representatives agreed that a common humanitarian approach
towards Burma must be viewed in the context of the country's political
environment, they said: "the nature and magnitude o the humanitarian
situation does not permit delaying until the political situation
The statement from the nine UN agency heads came amid ongoing secret
talks between the ruling junta and the opposition leader, Aung San Suu
Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner whose National League for
Democracy won a landslide general election in 1990 but was denied the
fruit of victory by the army.
Political Defiance Committee: Electricity in Burma
Current Electricity Output & Deficiency
At present the daily need for electricity all over Burma is 1,200
megawatt but the output from hydropower, natural gas-power and other
power plants produce is mere 440 megawatt, which again indicates that
Burma produces less than half of what is need nationwide.
Electricity in Rangoon
Rangoon with a population of 6 million and industrial zones in the
vicinity need over 160 megawatt daily but the MES is able to provide 50
megawatt only. In order to provide adequate electricity to the nation's
capital, fossil fuel engines located in Ahlone Township and used for
emergency electricity outlets during the Second World War were put to
use to produce more electricity. However, the output fell short of what
is necessary amount of electricity to Rangoon.
A daughter of former drug kingpin Law Sing Han bought fuel necessary to
operate the engines from Brunei and entered joint venture with MES to
produce more electricity. Unfortunately, fuel supply from Brunei stopped
when she could not pay for it in time. As a result, the operation of
fossil fuels engines had to be stopped. At the moment, the people have
to use generators, as the electricity supply is not even sufficient for
important locations such as hospitals.
Current electricity supply for Rangoon is about 8 hours a day and
therefore it is difficult for satellite towns and other outlying areas
to get electricity. In order to fill the need for electricity in these
areas, private yet small entrepreneurs are selling electricity produced
from small generators. Electricity from these generators is provided
from 6 to 10 in the evening at the rate of 25 Kyat for 40-watt lamps and
35 Kyat for 60-watt lamps.
Despite the scarcity of electricity, hotels and industries owned and
operated by foreign investors are provided sufficient electricity.
Charges for electricity use are 25 Kyat for one unit for individuals and
.80 $ FEC for foreign investors.
Following the 1988 uprising, the use of electricity has increased 8
times in Townships located in the inner Rangoon such as Pazundaung,
Tamwe, Kyimyindine, San Chaung, Bahan, Thingangyun, Mingala Taung Nyunt,
Botahtaung, Ahlone, Mayangone, etc.
Burma's MES has a different rate for both current and retired civil
servants. It charges 2.50 Kyat per unit for the use of one to 50 units,
10 kyat per unit for the use of 50 to 100 units. However, if the
electricity use surpasses 100 units, the MES charge 25 Kyat, the same as
As the availability of electricity from the government is not possible
in the provincial areas, township and district Peace and Development
Councils have formed respective electricity committees and provided
electricity from fuel engines. Although charges for electricity use is
different from one area to another, the rate for civil servants and
pensioners, more or less, is 40 Kyat per unit. But ordinary citizens and
indigenous private companies have to pay 75 Kyat per unit.
The current price for a gallon of gas (petrol) is 750 Kyat and a gallon
of diesel is about 840 Kyat. These prices however fluctuate depending on
the fluctuation of foreign currency.
Power plants in Burma
Biluchaing Hydropower Plant located at Lawpita in Kayah State
Plant 1, Plant 2, Plant 3
The Lawpita Hydropower project was initiated in 1951 by the then
Electricity Supply Board (ESB). The construction of the plants began in
January 1954. The machinery for the plants was bought from Japan with
the money it owed Burma as part of war compensation. Japanese advisors
and engineers from Nippon Koi and Kajima companies built the plants. The
production started in 1959.
The Plant 1 was built at Makutaw Falls and in full capacity, it can
produce 24,000 kilowatt. Presently however, it produces less than its
actual capacity. The Plant 2 was built at Lawpita Waterfalls and is the
most important in the Biluchaung Project. The plant has three 40,000
horsepower engines and each produces 28,000 kilowatt. The combined
output of the three engines is 84,000 kilowatt.
The third plant can produce 48,000 kilowatt of electricity. In full
capacity, the three plants can produce 168,000 kilowatt. But the
turbines are 50 years old and some of them cannot be used any longer. In
addition, the availability of sufficient water supply has become
difficult due to receding water in Inle Lake and Moebye Reservoir.
The MES has proposed for the construction of similar types of plants and
upgrading of the existing plants at Biluchaung to generate more
electricity. But as it would cost about $ 250 million altogether, the
project has not been approved due to the lack of funds. It is learnt
however that the $ 29 million assistance from Japan will be used to fix
At present, the Biluchaung plants produce about 100,000 kilowatt (100
megawatt) daily. The plants have about 280 wokers. Lawpita is about 250
miles from Rangoon and 1,155 power posts have to be used to supply
electricity to Rangoon. The electricity from Lawpita first goes to a
branch plant in Taungoo and then to Hlawka plant near Rangoon, from
which electricity is supplied to Rangoon through two lines known as
Mayangone line and Ywama line. Previously, the Hlawka plant used to
provide electricity to Bago (Pegu) and Pyi (Prome) but the supply has
become irregular. The northern branches for Lawpita are located in
Kalaw, Meikhtila, Mandalay, Taunggyi, and Yatsouk.
Kintar hydropower plant (Myittha township, Mandalay Division)
The construction began in 1981 with the help from West Germany. It was
aimed at supplying electricity to Mandalay and other upper Burma areas.
It has two 28 megawatt turbines but the output has reduced to 35
megawatt due to difficulty in getting enough water.
Shwetaung turbine gas power plant (Shwetaung township, Pegu (Bago)
The natural gas from Pyituang Tan gas-fields is used to produce
electricity. The plant plans to provide electricity to Pyi (Prome) and
the areas surrounding it. It produces only 10 megawatt daily.
Myan Aung turbine gas power plant (Myan Aung township, Irrawaddy
Relied on the natural gas from Myanaung gas-fields, the plant produces
and provides 10 megawatt of electricity to Myanaung and industrial zones
in the area.
Kyunchaung turbine gas power plant (Magwe Division)
The Kyunchaung plant uses the natural gas from Chauk and Yenanchaung
gas-fields. The output is 10 megawatt.
Zawgyi Hydropower plant (Yatsouk township, Shan State)
The production started on March 16, 2000. The output is 15 megawatt and
supplied to the town and outlying areas.
Zaungtu Hydropowr plant (Teikkyi township, Pegu Division)
The project was completed on March 22, 2000. It can produce about 40
The Burmese junta has built fossil fuel-operated generators in Rangoon,
Mandalay and other towns in order to sufficiently provide electricity to
the country. The attempts have hit a snag if there is a continual
scarcity of fuel and the generators have not been used at full capacity.
According to 1999-2000 statistics, the amount of fuel that is used to
produce electricity is:
- Fossil fuel 58.21%
- Hydropower 37.57%
- Natural gas 4.22%
Future Electricity Production Projects
Yaeywa Hydropower Plant (Kyaukse township, Mandalay Division)
When completed, the plant will generate about 700 megawatt. It is being
built with the assistance from India.
Paunglaung Hydropower Plant (Pyinmana township, Mandalay Division)
It is being constructed by the Yunnan Machinery & Equipment
Import-Export Corporation. It will produce 280 megawatt upon completion.
Htamanthi Hydropower Plant (Chin State)
The government of India has assisted for the project. When completed,
the plant will generate about 50 megawatt.
Daungba Chaung Hydropower plant project in Tetan township (Chin State)
Gnasitba Chaung Hydropower plant project in Falan township (Chin State)
These projects are intended for the use of electricity in their
Bawgahta Hydropower Plant (Nyaungleban township, Pegu Division)
The location was chosen for hydropower plant in 1950 but the project was
not able to begin as there was no security in the area. The project will
now be initiated, as there is no security concern anymore.
Saitin Hydropower Plant (Rakhine State)
The project has already begun. Upon completion, the plant will produce
about 60 megawatt.
Myainggale Natural Gas-power Plant (Karen State)
The natural gas from Yetana gasfields will be piped through Kanbauk area
to Myainggale in order to produce electricity.
Nuclear Power Plant
Although there is a plan to build a nuclear power plant with the help of
the Russians in the areas of Yaw and Saw, Sagaing Division, Upper Burma,
it is not known how much electricity the plant will generate.
Problems in connection with the scarcity of electricity in Rangoon and
The ordinary people with low income find it hard to pay 25 Kyat per unit
for the use of electricity. Other fuels such as firewood, charcoal,
etc., are more expensive than the use of electric cookers. Therefore
they choose to use the latter.
The normal use of electricity (such as cooking and lighting the house)
by a family is about 100 units per month. Those who are not civil
servants or retired government officials and workers have to spend over
2,000 Kyat. The income of these families is less than 10,000 Kyat and
therefore they have to spend one third or one fourth of their income for
The situation forces the people to steal electricity and as a result,
the MES has brought charges against some people. Although the rate for
government employees is 125 Kyat for the use of 50 units, the price will
become 625 if they use 100 units of electricity. If they wish to use
more than 100 units, they are required to pay 25 Kyat per unit. However,
the lowest income for a government employee is about 3,000 Kyat.
There are regular blackouts and brownouts in Rangoon. Electric light is
often not seen at night in Rangoon. Those who can afford can use small
generators but the low-income families have to confront with the lack of
electricity, especially with students during the examination seasons.
In the areas where there is no opportunity to receive electricity, the
situation is worse because they have to use more expensive fuels. The
situation further deteriorates due to corrupt officials from Peace and
Development Councils and the ordinary people have to spend even more
For the industrialists, then irregular supply of electricity has cost
dearly. They have to reply on fuels to operate their machinery, which
costs more than the use of electricity. Some have to stop their
businesses and some have to jack up the prices in order to make profits.
This in turn has created the price hikes.
Shan Herald Agency for News: Shans fleeing from annual rice purchase
August 6, 2001
Shans who recently arrived in Thailand told S.H.A.N. continuing to stay
in their homeland would amount to being foolish when they had to toil at
the land only to see its produce taken by Burmese authorities.
Tiya, 36, from a village in Mongkerng township, 108 miles northeast of
Taunggyi, said a meeting was held at the LIB 514 battalion post on 1
June, when Lt.-Col. Myint Maung, Commander, LIB 515 from Laikha
addressed the village and tract headmen. He informed the meeting that in
accordance with orders from his superiors tax would be levied on the
following domestic livestock:
K. 300 for each buffalo, per year
K. 200 for each cow, per year
K. 100 for each goat, per year
K. 50 for each pig, per month
He also informed them that starting from the year 2002, rice growers
must sell 24 baskets of unhulled Khao-zao rice per acre to the
government at K. 300 per basket rate.
As a result, hundreds had decided to leave their homeland and came to
Thailand because, as Tiya said, "the market price of unhulled Khao-zao
is K. 3,500-3,000 per lang and those of us who are poor will never be
able to afford it."
N.B. 1 lang equals 4 baskets
Xinhua: Myanmar Exports Less Teak, Hardwood in First Quarter
Xinhuanet 2001.08.06 10:11:57
YANGON, August 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar exported 86,456.5 cubic- meters
of teak in the first quarter of this year, 1.92 percent less than the
same period of 2000, according to the latest figures released by the
country's Central Statistical Organization.
Meanwhile, during the period, the country exported 54,619 cubic- meters
of hardwood, a 64.7-percent reduction from the corresponding period of
Export earning from teak and hardwood totaled 51 million U.S. dollars
during the three-month period.
In 2000, Myanmar exported a total of 302,810 cubic-meters of teak and
494,259.5 cubic-meters of hardwood with their total earning amounting
to 201 million dollars.
Timber has become Myanmar's second largest export goods after
agriculture products and foreign exchange earned through the export of
timber accounted for about 20 percent of Myanmar's total export earning.
Myanmar's forest covers 50 percent of its total land area, a 7- percent
reduction from 1962 reportedly due to indiscriminate felling of trees.
Of the forest area, 18.6 percent are reserved and protected public
forest, the percentage of which is being targeted to increase to 30.
Besides, Myanmar has established 30,375 hectares of forest plantations
including 8,100 hectares of teak plantations.
DVB : SPDC opens four new border trade posts
DVB has learned that the SPDC military government has amended the border
trading regulations and opened four new special border trade zones. In
accord with the new import and export procedures, some formerly
restricted items can now be exported. DVB correspondent Myint Maung
Maung filed this report.
[Myint Maung Maung] The SPDC has designated and opened four new border
trade posts - Sittwe, Hlaingtha, Lweje and Mergui on 25 July in
addition to the current six special border trade zones. The new import
and export regulations have allowed the export of eight items restricted
since the introduction of border trade in 1989. Furthermore, 10 out of
15 Thai foodstuff items restricted since May have been allowed to
import but MSG [monosodium glutamate] packets, juice, dried foodstuff,
canned products and condensed milk tins are still prohibited. Exporters
and importers must apply and obtain approval at the regional Trade
Departments and Customs Offices three days in advance providing the
particulars, quantity and weight details of the Burmese items to be
exported and the particulars, quantity, weight and recommended retail
price details of the foreign items to be imported. Moreover, border
regulations supervisory units have been sent to the four newly
established border trade posts and they have been ordered to commence
their duties from 28 July.
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 31 Jul 01
Burma Courier: News Buffs Treated to Different Versions of Abduction
Based on news from BKK Post, AFP, New Light of Myanmar: Updated to Aug
BANGKOK -- Seven security and drug officials of the Thai government who
were abducted inside Burma were flown back to Bangkok Thursday after
being held for seven days by the United Wa State Army.
A senior officer of the Thai Defence Ministry, General Wichit, who flew
to Rangoon on Tuesday to press for military government intervention in
the case, praised Burmese leaders for their "co-operation" in gaining
the release of the drug officers from their Wa captors at a press
conference at the airport. He said that on the same day, Col Tham Kway,
a military commander in Tachilek, had flown to Ban Hong, a small village
near Mong Hsat, where the Wa soldiers were holding the seven Thais.
After negotiating with the Wa soldiers, he secured the release of the
captive on Wednesday night and they were flown to Rangoon where they
were questioned briefly by military authorities.
The Was were said to have acted on the misunderstanding that the Thai
officials were on a spy mission because they were spotted taking
pictures of places in Tachilek. Their 4x4 Toyota Cruiser vehicle was
well-equipped with communications gear and this had further convinced
the Wa soldiers they were on a secret mission.
One of the officials, Colonel Duangkamol Sukonthasap of Thailand's
Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), told reporters that the group
was not on a reconnaissance mission and had crossed into Burma to visit
She added that they had not been interrogated after being detained by Wa
troops but had instead been taken to inspect a fruit plantation. "When
they learned we were Thai officials they invited us to inspect a logan
(fruit) plantation to prove they were not producing drugs."
A Thai army source said the village of Ban Hong was a new site being
used by the UWSA for the production of methamphetamines.
A version of the incident published in Saturday's edition of the New
Light of Myanmar described the seven as "Thai employees" who had crossed
the border at Tachilek "without mentioning their names in the list of
the immigration VIP family list". It made no mention of the UWSA but
described the captors as members of a "Wa group" and the area where the
seven were held as the "Wa region".
According to the version of events presented at a media conference on
Friday by the "Director of the Directorate of Defence Services
Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence Maj-Gen Kyaw", the "Wa group"
was "feeling much disappointed" because one of their members, identified
simply as Wan Li, had been summoned to the office of the "commissioner
of Mongpha" and murdered there, following which a documentary photograph
had been taken of his body with 10,000 stimulant pills and an M-22
automatic rifle placed beside it. Gen Kyaw Win said that "through
General Wichit, Myanmar officials had asked the Thai side to stay away
from launching slanderous accusations against the Wa people concerning
the narcotic drugs".
Bangkok Post: Abduction of 7 linked to assassination-Wa's killing blamed
on Fang district chief
August 7, 2001
By Sermsuk Kasitipradit and Cheewin Satthra
The recent assassination of a Wa man, with Thai nationality and close
ties with key members of the United Wa State Army, was thought to be a
crucial factor behind the July 27 abduction of seven Thai officials in
Burma's Thachilek town, security sources said yesterday.
Thawatchai sae Tieo, locally known as Wangli, was believed by local
officials to be a key drug trafficker. The man was reportedly lured by a
local Thai official to travel from the Wa's Mong Yawn town to Chiang
Mai's Fang district, where he was shot to death in front of the district
office on June 20.
"The incident angered the UWSA leaders who saw it as a premeditated
murder by local Thai officials who had reportedly lured him from Mong
Yawn," said one security source.
The source said the UWSA was convinced Fang district chief Kritsada
Boonrat was directly involved in the plot to have Wangli killed.
Mr Kritsada yesterday denied he had anything to do with the death of
"I did not lure him here. Nor was I directly involved in his killing,"
the Fang district chief said.
Police found methamphetamines and a shot gun next to the bullet-riddled
body of Wangli.
He was shot seven times at point-blank range by two unidentified gunmen
armed with 9mm pistols, police said.
"The circumstances of the killing were quite unusual," said the source,
a senior military officer who has closely monitored developments at the
Seven Thai officials, led by Col Duangkamol Sukhonthasap, director of
Division 12 of the Supreme Command's Armed Forces Security Centre, were
captured by Wa guerrillas on July 27 after crossing the border into
Thachilek, opposite Mae Sai border town in Chiang Rai.
Ten UWSA soldiers took them at gunpoint from a local temple where they
paid a visit to a revered Burmese monk.
They were blindfolded and taken to Mong Hsat, another Wa town, where
they were detained for several days before their release on Thursday
last week after a direct intervention by the Burmese military junta.
Maj-Gen Kyaw Win, Rangoon's intelligence deputy chief, told Thai
military officers led by Gen Vichit Yathip, chief of the defence
minister's staff officers, that it was possible the abduction of the
Thai officials might be related to the killing of Wangli.
Gen Vichit then had a meeting with Burma's intelligence chief, Lt-Gen
Khin Nyunt, who sent a senior Burmese military officer to mediate with
the UWSA for the release of the seven Thais.
During their detention, the Wa made it known that they were not happy
with Thailand's allegations that the Wa were deeply involved in the drug
The UWSA said the allegations were unfair since a lot of Wa people were
engaged in lawful undertakings including longan cultivation.
The seven Thai hostages were taken on a tour of the UWSA's longan
plantations, which the Wa claimed to be their main source of income.
Shan Herald Agency for News: New roads to the border ordered built
August 6, 2001
The Burmese military has recently issued orders to have two new roads
constructed opposite the province of Chiangrai within 6 months, reported
a border watcher this morning.
One of them, from the Wa forward headquarters of Nayao under Tamerng in
Mongkarn Tract, Monghsat Township, to the village of Ah-kawng, is
opposite Pang Noon in Mae Fa Luang District and would be 10-12 miles
long after completion.
Another one, 29-30 miles long, is to be built from Nampoong, a village
west of Tachilek under the control of Lahu militia leader Yishay to
Pakurh, opposite Mae Maw village in Mae Fa Luang District.
"Not only SSA (Shan State Army) controlled strongholds of Loi Kawwan and
Loi Kawhawm but all villages along the Thai border shall be placed in
danger," he said.
According to him, Maj.-Gen. Thein Sein, Commander, Triangle Region
Command, had on 20 July, issued the order from his headquarters in
Kengtung. "Only by securing communications along the border we shall be
able to react in time to any foreign incursions," he was reported to
The Burmese have been especially cagey since Task Force 399, an
anti-drug special unit trained by the Americans, was established in
Chiangmai early this year, he said.
The Asian Age : 'Northeast rebels are funded by few European NGOs'
By Sanjib Deb
The Asian Age(29,July,2001)
Agartala, July 28:Union Minister of state for home I.D. Swami has
admitted that the militant outfits in Northeast are getting both money
and arms from foreign sources. While they are getting arms from
neighbouring Bangladesh, Burma and Thailand , their main source of money
is several European countries. He said the Center is aware about the
danger these may pose to the integrity of the country and taking
appropriate steps to cut the supply line.
There was a report about the arrival of a large consignment of
arms at Cox Bazar port in Bangladesh in the first week of April of which
the major part was smuggled to India through the deeply wooded forests
and reached to various militant outfits of the Northeast. Replying to a
specific question over the issue asked by the MP from Tripura, Mr.
Khagen Das, at Rajya Sabha, the minister denied the report but said the
three countries, Bangladesh, Burma and Thailand , through which the
illegal flow of arms are taking place in Northeast have already been
Regarding the other steps taken to stop the supply he said the
intelligence machinery has been geared up information is being regularly
exchanged with them.Strength of the Border Security Force and the Assam
Rifles has been increased along the india -Bangladesh and the
India-Burma borders. The Center is regularly monitoring the
developments, he said.
He also said that the Center is aware of terrorist organisations
in Northeast who indulge in extortion and are getting assistance through
various channels.He said some of them also have links with few non
government organisations in European countries, who provide funds
through their own cover and also through friendly organizations.
Xinhua: Myanmar Designates Some Narcotic Drugs As Illegal Sale
YANGON, August 7 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar has designated some six kinds of
narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as illegal sale if they are
possessed or transported or transferred with the weight specified or
more than it, official newspaper The New Light of Myanmar quoted a
recent order issued by the Ministry of Health as reporting. The
specifications cover 3 grams (gm) of Amphetamine, 2 liters of Codeine
liquid, 5 gm of Codeine tablets, 0.25 gm of Diphenoxylate, 10 gm of
Pethidine injection and 10 gm of Pethidine tablets. Myanmar enacted a
new Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law in January 1993,
declaring 126 drugs as narcotic, 34 substances as psychotropic, 3 plants
as narcotic and 8 chemicals as precursors. Since then 14 death
sentences, 84 sentences for unlimited number of years, 35 life sentences
and 7 above-20-year sentences have been passed on drug offenders,
according to Myanmar's Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control.
Meanwhile, during the first five months of this year, the Myanmar drug
control authorities exposed a total of 1,251 drug- related cases,
seizing 419 kilograms (kg) of opium and 25.25 kg of heroin, and
punishing 1,781 drug offenders.
Kyodo: Myanmar junta unlikely to go without guarantee: Mahahir
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug. 6, Kyodo - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
on Monday told former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori that he
believes the Myanmar military is unlikely to hand power to a civilian
government unless there is guarantee there would not be reprisals in the
Japan's former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hidenao Nakagawa, who attended
the meeting, said Mahathir emphasized that there must be reconciliation
between Myanmar's military junta and the opposition camp for a peaceful
transfer of power.
Noting that the Myanmar military has already released many political
prisoners, Mahathir told Mori that he has urged Myanmar opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi to respond to the gesture.
Mahathir, who has personal ties to the Myanmar junta as well as Suu
Kyi's National League for Democracy, paid a visit to Myanmar in January
and met with top Myanmar junta officials.
Mahathir told Mori that Suu Kyi is unlikely to get everything she wants
from the military junta and that it is important both sides get
something out of a rapprochement.
Members of the ruling junta would have to be included in a future
civilian government, Mahathir said.
In the meantime, Japan should make efforts to urge Europe and the United
States to relax sanctions against Myanmar, the Malaysian prime minister
The Economist: A long way from Rangoon
August 4, 2001 U.S. Edition
Fort Wayne, Indiana
IN AN understated, mid-western way, Fort Wayne is a city that likes to
boast. The first jukebox was invented here, the locals are happy to tell
you, as was the first washing-machine. The first professional-league
baseball game was played here in 1871. More recently, this town of
200,000 has been named All-America City (twice), and, with over 300
houses of worship, the City of Churches.
Fort Wayne has earned another distinction that is less well known. Since
1988, the city has taken in more refugees from Myanmar (once known as
Burma) than anywhere else in the United States. Now more than 1,000
strong, the Burmese community is the city's biggest group of immigrants.
The Burmese settled in Fort Wayne for many of the same reasons that
other refugees have gone there: willing sponsors (all those churches),
plentiful factory jobs, and a low cost of living. The arrivals have
included student leaders from the country's ill-fated 1988 democracy
movement, as well as two opposition politicians elected to the national
legislature in 1990, before the country's military rulers scrubbed the
The politically-minded spend their days working in blue-collar jobs or
studying at university. But many of their nights and weekends are
devoted to heated discussion of how things are in Myanmar. Since most
have not been there for a dozen years, and have little direct
communication with the people back home, rumours are rampant and
frustration runs deep.
Like other exiles, from some of the early English arrivals to the Miami
Cubans, the ?88 generation? insist that they never wanted to come to
America. After their uprising had been crushed, thousands of young
people fled into the jungle along the Thai border, and took up arms
alongside local ethnic rebels. They thought they would march
triumphantly back into Rangoon, now called Yangon. Instead, they spent
years coping with hunger, malaria and land-mines?and squabbling among
themselves. Those who eventually decided to seek refuge abroad saw it as
a temporary measure. Even now, few have applied for American
After the years of hardship and tension in Myanmar, this does not make
for a easy life. In Fort Wayne five different political groups promote
various solutions to their country's tribulations. The recent reports of
secret talks between the Burmese junta and the opposition leader, Aung
San Suu Kyi, both excited the Fort Wayne exiles (they might yet go back)
and worried them (why weren't they consulted about the talks?).
In a bid to make their voices heard, they organised a conference on
Myanmar's ?democratic transition? at Indiana University. More than 80
Burmese tried hard to set aside the schisms that date back to their days
in the jungle. After a somewhat heated debate, they called both for the
formation of a transitional government in Myanmar and for the
continuation, until a lasting settlement is achieved, of economic
sanctions against the country. The homesick have yet to find their cure.
Bangkok Post: Policemen arrested for smuggling aliens
August 06, 2001.
Two policemen have been arrested on a charge of smuggling aliens into
the country in a police truck.
Mae Sot district chief Samart Loyfa said Pol L/Cpl Kittiphum Kongchaona
and Pol Sen Sgt-Maj Phud Phaowana of Tak police station were apprehended
at a checkpoint with nine Burmese nationals in their six-wheel truck.
Mr Samart said he was tipped off by an informant that a businessman in
nearby Kamphaeng Phet had paid 5,000 baht for each Burmese worker.
Both policemen denied the charge.
Bangkok Post: Is Burma becoming a divided nation?
August 6, 2001
The abduction of seven Thai officials in Burma ended well. By all
indications, Rangoon acted correctly to free and release them. Burmese
officials were both slow and secretive, but that is probably because the
dictators are always suspicious and uncommunicative. In the event, the
generals defused an anxious and potentially delicate situation. The six
male and one female Thai drug officers are safe and home. Thai-Burma
relations had survived their first minor crisis since Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra visited Rangoon nearly seven weeks ago.
The incident unmasked the difficulties Rangoon faces with its Wa allies
in the northeast. The Wa, and particularly the United Wa State Army, are
extracting a huge price from Rangoon for the 1989 agreement to stop the
anti-Burmese rebellion. Last week's abduction of seven Thai officials
indicates that the Wa intend to press for the independence they failed
to win on the battlefield.
Remarkably, Thai and Burmese officials agree entirely on the details of
the abduction. The Thai drug officials had attended a seminar and
brainstorming session in Chiang Rai. The head of the Thai-Burmese
co-ordinating committee from the Third Army volunteered to take his six
colleagues into Burma for sight-seeing. The group crossed the busy
Tachilek-Mae Sai bridge. Despite the suspicions of cynics in Bangkok,
all those involved agree that the trip was entirely legal, entirely
above-board and entirely overt.
Their seizure by armed Wa forces is yet another indication that Burma
has no control over this group. With 20,000 men and women under arms,
the 1.1 million ethnic Wa have long posed a real threat to the security
and integrity of Burma. And to pound salt into the Rangoon wounds on
this occasion, the UWSA refused to release the abducted Thais until the
generals dispatched a senior official to "request" the Wa free them to
Thai drug officials and army officers have properly minimised the
kidnapping. Kitti Limchaikit, secretary-general of the Office of
Narcotics Control Board, will conduct an internal inquiry to ensure his
staff acted correctly. The army has debriefed its officers who were
involved, with the same aim.
When Rangoon finally broke its silence on the incident, spokesmen were
clearly unhappy. Maj-Gen Kyaw Win, the deputy intelligence chief,
described the abduction as an unfortunate incident. But he said the
detention of the Thais was "inappropriate". His highly unusual criticism
of Rangoon's drug-dealing allies ended with a specific public warning
that such an event should not be repeated.
It was a remarkable media briefing, which showed that Rangoon is well
aware of the potential for trouble with the Wa. The group has grown
wealthy on drugs, and has more than doubled its area in the past decade.
In return for fighting and defeating Khun Sa's army, the Wa demanded and
received land next to the Thai border. The group has continually
stockpiled weapons, including small arms, anti-aircraft missiles and,
recently, artillery pieces.
The Wa thus pose a double threat to the region. In addition to their
growing trade in methamphetamines and heroin, the Wa openly display
their ability to act as their own law. Most governments would have
tracked down and arrested anyone who abducted visitors.
Burma has created a difficult situation for itself. It needs the
cease-fire with the Wa, and has grown dependent upon revenue from the
drug trafficking. But the group clearly threatens the national unity
that has been the policy of every Burmese government, including the
democrats who won the 1990 election. The abduction of the Thai visitors
ended peacefully but the Wa continue to grow bolder towards Rangoon.
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