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Singapore Democratic Party's worry

Subject: Singapore Democratic Party's worry over drug trade.

	Letter to the Editor: SDP's worry over drug trade 

                       YOU reported a letter from a Myanmar official who 
claims that the international media is
                       making false claims about drug lords in Myanmar. 

                       The writer has conveniently left out the fact that 
the evidence from these statements have come
                       from governments, drug enforcement agencies and 
academics -- not just the media. 

                       The US State Department said in its International 
Narcotics Control Strategy Report of March
                       1995 that "Burma remains the undisputed leader in 
world illicit opium output, providing over 50
                       per cent of known global illicit production...". 
Raw opium is subsequently refined into heroin. It
                       is estimated that Myanmar's heroin production rose 
from 53 tons in 1987 to about 200 tons in
                       the 1990s. 

                       Both Lo Hsing Han's and Lin Mingxian's involvement 
in this drug trade is not exactly peripheral
                       as the writer would have us believe. The 
French-based Observatoire Geopolitique des Drogues
                       says: "Our sources have tracked Lin's heroin trail 
since 1989." Bags of heroin are transported
                       to ports where Hongkong- and Bangkok-based gangs 
ship them to international markets.
                       Thailand's Office of Narcotics Control Board 
indicated that Lo Hsing Han is still actively
                       smuggling heroin. 

                       Not only are these drug activities allowed to 
operate in Myanmar, they are also actively
                       supported by the Slorc, Myanmar's military regime. 
In fact, the US State Department has said:
                       "It is unlikely that the heroin trade can be 
curtailed without fundamental political change in
                       Burma." But what has all this to do with 
Singapore? Earlier this year, the Government said
                       hard-core addicts are more likely to commit 
crimes. A repeat drug offender is one of the two
                       men suspected of murdering a Japanese tourist at 
the Oriental Hotel recently. In order to deter
                       these addicts and their crimes, the Government has 
increased the penalty for repeat drug
                       offenders. They now face up to 13 years of 
detention and six strokes of the cane. Drug pedlars
                       are routinely hanged in Singapore for carrying 

                       And where are all these drugs coming from? Drug 
lords like Lo Hsing Han are the big-time
                       pushers aided by the Slorc generals. Now there are 
allegations that our GIC funds are invested
                       with Lo's investment company and that Lo travels 
freely in and out of Singapore. Up to now,
                       the PAP Government has refused to answer 
specifically whether these allegations are true or

                       The GIC funds come from the money of Singaporeans. 
It is not only the right but the paramount
                       duty of Singaporeans loyal to this nation to ask 
why and how our money is invested in
                       Myanmar and elsewhere. This is not a matter of 
foreign relations. It is lives and deaths that we
                       are talking about -- Singaporeans' lives and 
deaths. Can the writer now see why the SDP is so
                       concerned about the drug trade in Myanmar? 

Singapore Democratic Party 

[Straits Times, 18 December 1996].