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THE DRUG CONTROL SITUATION IN MYANM
- Subject: THE DRUG CONTROL SITUATION IN MYANM
- From: OKKAR66129@xxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 01:26:00
Subject: THE DRUG CONTROL SITUATION IN MYANMAR
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THE DRUG CONTROL SITUATION IN MYANMAR
(EMPHASIS ON HEROIN PRODUCTION AND TRAFFICKING)
Myanmar is situated in South East Asia. its neighbours are China, India,
Bngladesh, Thailand and Laos. Its borders are 2.192 kilometers with China,
1331 kilometers with India. 256 kilometers with Bangladesh, 2096 kilometers
with Thailand, 224 kilometers with Laos. totalling altogether (6,099)
kilometers. Myanmar has a long coast line of 2.276 kilometers
Prior to British colonial rule, opium cultivation and production was unheard
of in Myanmar. The British Imperialists intruded into Myanmar in the earlier
part of the l9th century and after the three Anglo-Myanrnar wars of 1824 to
1826, 18th and 1888 to 1886, Myannuar succumbed to British Imperialism and
became a colon) of the British. It was the British Imperialists who introduced
opium cultivation in the country and also encouraged its consumption. By the
time Myanmar gained independence in 1948, opium cultivation, the evil legacy
of the British colonialists, had taken firm root in the Shan State and parts
of the border areas. Added to this, in the latter part of 1949, the Kuomintang
Chinese troops, defeated in the Battle of
Yunman Province in China intruded into our territory} in their retreat and
occupied the northeastern regions. Some western bloc nations on the pretext of
attempting to prevent the spread of communism, but with the implicit aim of
opening up a new
military front against China from within Myanmar, actively supported the KMT
aggression. However the KMT were militarily incapable of launching a
successful attack to penetrate the mainland Chinese forces. So they, instead,
turned to establishing a foothold in the country and occupied certain areas of
the Shan State and immediately proceeded to expand opium cultivation and
establish a monopoly in drug trafficking. They forced the local population to
grow more opium poppy and the produce was then airlifted out of the country to
foreign parts with the vera airplanes that are transporting arms and
ammunitions for them by some Western nations. Thus the Shan State was
transformed into a major cultivator and bulk producer of opium. Beginning from
the latter part of 1960, the KMT in collusion with some Westerners began to
process heroin from opium, and thus began the world-wide illicit drug trade.
May I give as reference ,The Politics of Heroin in South East Asia soy Alfred
M. McCoy which was published in 1972, for detailed facts of the case.
The Government of Myanmar, beginning from 1973, initiated effective measures
to combat and control the narcotic drug menace through the combined efforts of
the Armed Forces, the Police Force and other agencies and organizations
concerned. In 1974, the Law Against Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
was enacted. On 2nd March 1976, the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control
was formed giving added impetus to action against drug abuse control and
suppression. At the same time, the Armed forces launched military operations
to quell armed insurgent groups implicated in the production of opium and drug
trafficking along the border areas. Special military operations against
narcotic drugs such as Operation Moe Hein, Operation Nga Ye Pan, Operation
Taung Yan Shin and Operation Aung Moe Hein were launched yearly and the
control and eradication of narcotic drugs was undertaken as a compulsory
military task. These endeavours were supported by the American Government ,
and assistance worth) a total of 86 million U.S. dollars was received in the
form of airplanes, helicopters, motor vehicles and other necessary equipment.
The hauls of heroin ,other psychotropic substances and related materials made
within this period were as follows:
(a) Heroin 109 kilos
(b) Opium 5,453. kilos
(c) Marijuana 347 kilos
(d) Morphine Base 344 kilos
(e) Precursor Chemicals and assorted acids 24,994 litters
(f) Opium liquid 71524 liters
(g) Heroin refining camps destroyed 15 Nos.
(h) Poppy fields destroyed 211,199 acres
But since 1988, due to certain allegations made against Myanmar, the United
States of America as well as the European Union withdrew all forms of
assistance to Myanmar including that for Narcotic Drug Control. After the
eventful year of 1988 the MTA led by Khun Sa extended his illegal drug
trafficking operations to such large scale proportions that his group became
substantially stronger and more solid, both financially and in terms of
On 23nd April 1994, Mr. Peter Bourne, who had been adviser on Narcotics
Affairs to former President of the United States of America, Mr. Jimmy Carter,
came to Ho-mong, the headquarters of MTA and met Khun Sa. Bourne with ill
intent, explained to Khun Sa that charges had been preferred against him as a
Drug War Lord b) the United States Government more as a political manoeuvre
than anything else. He then advised Khun Sa to pursue political means as a way
out of his predicament and suggested that the MTA should openly and boldly
attack the Myanmar Government Forces in the name of Shan independence and to
publicize this as a political cause, in order to focus the interest of the
But the Government Forces succeeded in repelling the MTA offensives and
crushed its troops in the Mongkyut area in Mongton Township in the eastern
sector of Thanlwin River. Eastern Shan State in 1994, and those in Phattumein
region in Tachileik Townships in May l995. Columns of the the Armed Forces
crossed the Thanlwin River on 15 December 1995 to launch an offensive in the
eastern sector of the river. Thus on 5th January 1996, the MTA forces under
the command of Khun Sa in the Northern and Southern Regions of the Shan State
were faced with no other alternative but to unconditionally surrender . This
surrender was also prompted by the fact that Khun Sa and his followers had now
realized the futility) of fighting the Government Forces and to understand the
havoc caused by their drug production and trafficking and its evil
consequences. not only for the country, but for humanity itself. Furthermore,
they had also come to understand the full import of the aims and objectives
being implemented for the entire nation by the Government. Moreover there vas
the added factor of the pressure being exerted on them by the Armed Forces.
Thus, during the period (5-1- 5 to 31-12-98), the (15,197) strong drug
trafficking armed group led by Khun Sa surrendered unconditionally and entered
the legal fold together with (9,993) heavy and light weapons and assorted
mines and ammunition.
?Three salient conditions however were stipulated for the surrender of Khun
Sa and his MTA troops and these were ;
(I) The MTA troops were to unconditionally surrender all their weapons and
(2) They were to abide by and in no way, deviate from the arrangements made
for them by the State.
(3) After their surrender they were not lo become involved again with
narcotic drugs and its illicit trade in any way.
Myanmar is well aware that ?narcotic drugs? is the common enemy of mankind.
Hence the reason why it has designated the fight against narcotic drugs a
vital national cause; within the limits of its financial resources it has
spared no effort to fight it and has today achieved a fair measure of success.
In Myanmar,opium is cultivated in the least developed areas of the remote
regions in the Shan State and in some of the border areas. In these regions
the terrain is so difficult that they are
almost inaccessible, and because of the harsh climatic conditions the local
populace has no recourse but to resort to opium cultivation as the principal
cash crop. The fact that drug trafficking was inextricably linked to the armed
national groups along the border led the Myanmar Government lo give priority
to rebuilding national unit and to the development of hitherto undeveloped
border regions. To realize these aims the government laid down two strategies:
(a) To exert all-round effort so as to accelerate the anti-drug campaign as
a national concern.
(b) To gradually eliminate the practice of poppy cultivation in proportion to
the enhancment of socio-economic life of the border areas and national races.
Taking measures in line with these strategies led to better results in drug
interdiction within the period spanning September 1988 to 1998 than in the
prior to 1988. The following statistics bear testimony:
(a) Opium 28,046 kilos
(b) Heroin 4,136 kilos
(c) Phensedyl 34.563 litres
(d) Precursor Chemicals and assorted acids 249,787 litres
(e) Ephedrine 7,714 kilos
(f) Methamphetamine 2,686,928 tablets
(g) Heroin refining camps destroyed 106 Nos.
(h) Poppy fields destroyed 86,612 acres
(i) Public burning of seized narcotic drugs 12 occasions (Yangon)
(j) Burning of seized narcotic drugs 20
A few remnants of the KMT and the MTA who have joined the SURA armed group
led b%, Ywet Sitt are still carrying on illicit production of narcotic drugs
in the vicinity of Ma Hein Tet and Peinlon along the Thai-myanmar border.
This rogue roup smuggles in by all possible means, precursor chemicals that
are necessary ingredients for the processing of heroin, from neighbouring
countries and are producing heroin and other psychotropic substances. The
narcotic drugs produced are then smuggled out from this border location to
reach world markets via neighbouring Thailand or front Yunnan Povince in
China. However the achievement of peace with former armed national groups and
their return to the legal community have made it possible for the Armed Forces
and other law enforcement agencies to concentrate more on drug control
activities. The enthusisatic participation of the former armed national
groups in these activities have also led to more effective interdiction and
significant increases in illicit drug and other related materials seized. The
following statistics cover the three-year period of 1996/199711998.
(a) 29-8-96 Seizure of Heroin (142.9) kilos between Kun-Kaunk and Man-Lwe
village at (P-032074). Theinni Township.
(b) 13-11-96 Seizure of Heroin (69-7935) kilos at A.T. checkpoint, Lashio.
According to the investigation, later on that day, seizure of (38) kilos of
Heroin. (250) litres of Sulphuric acid and (3,3000.000) kyats at Nam-On
village. Kutkai Township.
(c) 30-1-97 A search of a Hilux truck, No. Ball 145 near Shaukkai
village in Lauk Kai Township led to the capture of (118) packets of opium
weighing (406.6) kilos and various processing paraphernalia.
(d) 14-2-97 (161) blocks of heroin
weighing 56.35 kilos. (3) cellular phones, (119,900) Yuan and gold
weighing (9.02) tickles seized at Kyukhok 1 Pan Sai in Kung Long Township.
(e)30-4-97 Seizure of heroin refinery with (1,930) litres of opium
liquid (10,064) litres and (147) containers of acids and precursor chemicals
and other paraphernalia at (P-097236), Kutkai Township.
(f) 3-5-97 Seizure of Heroin refinery with (38) kilos of
opium.(114) litres of opium liquid, (8428) litres and (56) contaiers of acids
and precursor chemicals at (P-160277), Kutkai Township.
(g) 8-7-97 The seizure of (5,906) litres of sulphuric acid and
(1.817) litres of ethylated spirits from the compound of Aik Hsan of Ward
(12) of Lashio.
(h) 31-10-97 Seizure of precursor chemicals such as hydrochloric acid
(300) litres, Acetic Anhydride (409) litres, sulphuric acid (659) litres,
ether (1,113) litres, lyzol(409) litres, ethylated spirit (1,590) litres,
chloroform(477) litres and soda (105) kilos at Mong Ko check point in Kung
(i) 11-11-97 (296.85) kilos of heroin and (61.2) kilos of opium seized
from the house of Lauk San in the vicinity of Kaung Gue village in Muse
(j) 3-12-97 A search of a Land Cruiser, No.Tha/7869 proceeding from
Taunggyi to Mandalay at a toll gate in Kalaw.. Township led to the capture of
(145) packets of opium weighing (351.34) kilos.
(k) 29-1-98 Seizure of heroin refinery with (21.86) kilos of heroin,
(91.95) kilos of Morphine base, (909) litres of opium liquid, (3,030) litres
and (1,300) kilos of acid and precursor chemicals, (7) assorted weapons and
other paraphernalia at (0-665043), Kutkai Township.
(l) 13-2-98 Seizure of heroin refiner with (1,086.3) kilos of opium,
(327) litres of opium liquid@ (3,308) litres and (1,,200) kilos of acids and
precursor chemicals and other paraphernalia at (0-588309), Kutkai Township
(m) 24-5-98 Seizure of (9,655) litres of Ethyl Alcohol, near Pan-Nwe
vil lage in Kutkai
(n) 27-6-98 The capture of (9) assorted weapons, (27.35) kilos of
heroin, (1830.4) kilos of opium and a large amount of precursor chemicals
from the house of Wan Kwa Shin and Baung Khaw of Lwe Kham village, Kutkai
(o) 13-7-98 A Mitsubishi truck, No.3 Kha/4706 had been seized with
(0.3) kilo of heroin by, an Army Unit stationed at Mon San in Mong-Shu
Township. Later, on that day, adetailed h of the vehicle at Taunggyi
uncovered (220) blocks of heroin weighing (73.3) kilos in hidden
compartment under the floor boards of the
(p) 10-8-98 Seizure of (63) packets of opium weighing (1 16.346)
kilos at Ban-Yin village, Taunggui Township.
(q) 27-11-98 Seizure of (7,270) litres of Ethylated Spirit at Naung-
Pje village, Kutkai
In carrying out the crusade against narcotic drugs during the period of
September 1988 to 1998, (801) members of the Armed Forces, including (27)
officers gave up their lives in the cause of narctoic drug eradication and
(2,429) servicemen, including (90) officers were wounded. These statistics
provide incontrovertible evidence that Myanmar has had to sacrifice her sons
in many ways so that humanity might be spared to a certain measure from the
scourge of narcotic drugs.
The active participation and cooperation of armed national groups who have
elected to live within the legalfold have also led to the
suc cessful establishment of a drug free zone in Shan State East, Special
Region (4) (Mongma - Mongla) as of April 1997. Efforts are now underway to
establish and designate similar drug free zones in Shan State, North, Special
Region (1)by, the year 2000 and in Shan State, No@ Special Region (2) by the
year 2005. In addition, the Government has drawn up special projects and
programmes to achieve more significant results aimed at total elimination of
poppy cultivation in the entire country within the next 15 years. Up to now,
the Government has spent more than (10) trillion kyats on the development of
border areas where poppy is grown .
The Government in its ceaseless struggle against the scourge of nar cotic
drugs has cooperated fully with non- governmental organizations, United
Nations organizations?, neighbouring countries and countries in the region.
Myanmar became a state party to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs
as of 29th July 1963. Myanmar also acceded to the 1988 UN Convention
Against Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Sub stances and the 1971 Convention on
Psychotropic Substances. She repealed the 1974 Drug Law and strengthened the
legal framework by, enacting a new law on 27th January 1993., which was more
com patible with the 1988 UN convention. Then on 17th July 1993,. the
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Rules were issued to effectively
implement the law enacted.
As part of the Sub-regional Action Plan on Drug Control. Myanmar became a
signatory to a Six-nation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China,
Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Moreover, since 27th May 1995,
development programmes emphasizing crop substitution have been underway, with
technical and financial assistance from the UNDCP Misiterial level meetings
on Drug Control between Myanmar, Laos and Thiland were held in 1992. 1994 and
Bilateral Agreements on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse Control were
respectively, signed with India on 30th March 1993; with Bangladesh on 1st
December 1994; with Vietnam on 12th March 1995; with the Russian Federation on
22nd January 1997, with Laos on 29th March 1997 and with the Philippines on
15th October. 1997.
As member of the ASEAN, Myanmar signed the Joint Declaration on A Drug Free
Zone in the ASEAN by the @,ear 2020 at the ASEAN Ministerial Level Meeting
held in Manila, Philippines on 25th July 1998.
Myanmar has also cooperated with the Government of the United States in
collecting samples from illicit poppy fields in the Shan State to estimate
opium yield. Opium Yield Surveys were thus conducted in 1993, 19951,1997,
1998 and recently within this year, 1999.
The narcotic drug problem is a world- wide menace which therefore needs world
cooperation, not finger-pointing and laying blame on each other, to combat and
overcome it.The illicit production and and trafficking of narcotic drugs in My
is mostly caused out m the remote and isolated China-Myanmar and Thai-Myanmar
border regions. Myanmar shares lengthy borders with neighbouring countries
that are not easy to monitor and cheek. So precursor chemicals necessary for
heroin processing, such as acids, are smuggled in front bordering countries.
As stated earlier the armed terrorist group formed with remnants of the KMT
and MTA, and headed h, Ywet Sill is still operating and active in these remote
regions. This indeed would not be possible without assistance and cooperation
of accomplices from across the borders.
Myanmar?s National Programme for the total eradication of narcotic drugs
within 15 years, begins in the year 1999-2000. This goal can be achieved
earlier than scheduled if Myanmar should receive much needed international aid
and assistance. International cooperation is indeed of vital importance. But
1 would like to all present, that irrespective of whether we receive foreign
aid and encouragement or not, the fight to eliminate narcotic drugs from our
soil, is for us a national cause, a solemn pledge that aye have made to keep.
It is a crusade that we are at present waging fairly successfully though
single handedly with our own available financial resources. However we are
always ready to extend our fullest cooperation to the international community
should they decide to join hands with us, and together speed up and reenforce
the fight to remove once and for all, this menace to the world.
?Let?s Join Hands In the Fight Against Narcotic Drugs,
The Menace Of All Nations?
Presented by Colonel Kyaw Thein
Member of Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control