[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
[theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: Au
Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: August 14, 2000
Failed tests, classes skipped, forgotten locker combinations.
Remember the good 'ol days
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
_________August 14, 2000 Issue # 1596__________
INSIDE BURMA ________
*AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi predicts democracy for Myanmar
*Myanmar Information List: Eric Snider on rice production
*SHAN: Panghsang tightening security
*SHAN: Wa News
*MICB: Porters die of exhaustion and malnutrition in Karen state
*New Era Journal: the French Connection
*The Nation: Way of the Warlords
*Chin Human Rights Org: Burma Refugees Without Unhcr Support in Delhi
*Mizzima: Asia's currencies on skid row?
*SHAN: A Market Day At The Border
*Xinhua: Myanmar-Thailand Bilateral Trade Drops in 1999-2000
The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi predicts democracy for Myanmar
WASHINGTON, Aug 13 (AFP) - Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu
Kyi has predicted in a new television interview that the country's
junta will lose its iron grip on power during her lifetime, allowing
democracy to take root.
In her first US network television interview in 11 years, the Nobel
prize winner said she would continue her political battle, despite
the seeming omnipotence of the core of ruling generals.
"Unless my lifetime is unexpectedly short, I certainly will see
democracy come to Burma," Aung San Suu Kyi, 55, said on NBC's
Dateline program broadcast Sunday.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won an overwhelming
victory in general elections in Myanmar, the former Burma, in 1990.
The military government has never recognised the result however, and
is accused by opponents in the West of a catalogue of human rights
abuses and political repression.
Junta leaders brand Aung San Suu Kyi as an agent of foreign
governments desperate to overturn their rule. They have promised to
restore democracy eventually, albeit on terms which opponents say
will only entrench military rule.
Despite the years of house arrest Aung San Suu Kyi has endured, and
continuing restrictions on her movement, she said in the interview
that she did not regret her role as a figurehead for democracy in
"I don't look at it as a sacrifice, it's a choice. If you chose to
do something, then you say it is a sacrifice, because nobody forced
you to do it," she said.
Last year, Aung San Suu Kyi lost her husband, Briton Michael Aris,
The junta offered to let her return to Britain to see him before he
died, but she refused, saying the offer was a ruse to force her into
"Everybody knows that once they got me out of the country, they
wouldn't have allowed me to come back again," she said in the
Myanmar Information List: Eric Snider on rice production
Posted to the regime's Myanmar Information Listserv August 11, 2000
Commentary by Eric Snider
In NEWS & VIEWS FROM MYANMAR ( Vol.2 , No.30 ), Date: August 10, 2000
12:14 PM the regime asserted "The State is making all-round efforts
to export the surplus rice. In 1999-2000, the nation put 15.43
million acres under paddy and produced 953 million baskets of paddy."
The Myanmar foreign ministry bulletin says a record rice crop of 953
baskets of paddy (= 20 million metric tons) was raised in fiscal 1999-
and that "all round efforts" are being made to export the surplus.
junta's statistical bureau says that only 53,000 metric tons
was exported last year. Was all the rest consumed by Myanmar's hungry
Myanmar has approximately 50,000,000 people, so that means each man,
or child must have consumed the equivalent of 19 baskets of rice =
approximately 874 pounds of rice during the whole year or about 2.4
of rice a day. But the junta's ministry of health tells us that the
healthy portion of rice for a man is approximately 2 tins (= 1.1
per day and rather less for a woman (1.5 tins) and a child (1.13
Even if everybody in Myanmar consumed a healthy man's portion of rice
would have eaten less than half of the rice the junta says the country
produced last year. The obvious conclusions are that a) the
round efforts" to export rice don't amount to hill of "rice". Or else
that the country only produced about half the rice the junta says it
The World Rice Yearbook published by the U.S. Department of
last December predicted that Myanmar's rice crop would be
9.55 million metric tons or slightly under half of what the junta
country produced. The U.S. estimate is much closer to the real
levels of the country and one coud well imagine a small surplus of
50-60,000 tons for export purposes.
If the cultivated rice acreage amounted to 15.43 million acres, then
million baskets would work out to about 61 baskets per acre. If
was only about half that much (i.e. close to the Rice Yearbook
then the yield would be around the 30 basket per acre range. Very low
indeed. And a far cry from the vaulted 100 basket per acre yields
Senior General Than Shwe is calling on the country to produce.
SHAN: Panghsang tightening security
14 August 2000
Saeng Khao Haeng reports from northern Shan State that Panghsang, the
capital near the Chinese border, is hardening its hold both on the
populace and outsiders.
There has been many people, including 1 major and 2 captains from the
United Wa State Army, who were shot down by unknown gunmen on the
and in the hotels or homes since New Year, he is told.
As the killings appeared to be linked to retail buying and selling of
amphetamines in the areas, a stern directive has also been issued by
leadership to crack down on retailers.
Panghsang welcoming teachers from China
Chinese teachers appear to be preferred to native Wa language
reports Saeng Khao Haeng.
In Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, several teachers have been talking
excitedly about the benefits of going to the Wa area of Shan State.
"The main incentive is better payment," he is told. "Whereas primary
middle school teachers in Yunnan get paid Y 700-800 a month, they are
offered Y 3,000 in Panhsang and the surrounding areas."
However, Khun Lu Maha, the Wa "Education Minister," who has been
a revive-Wa-language campaign is still reportedly trying "to make the
of a bad job".
SHAN: Wa News
13 August 2000
Shan Herald Agency for News
Maihoong reported on 4 August that 5 relocated Shans were being
they accidentally stepped on the mines planted by the Wa army in the
eastern Shan State township of Mongton.
The 5, who arrived from Loilem at Namhukhoon village, Poompakhem
Mongton township, on 2 June, were blown up by an unidentified
anti-personnel mine only about 1 mile distant from Namhukhoon. They
their way to Ban Nawlae just across the border in Thailand. The
local villager, was fortunately unhurt.
They were Loong Zai, 47; Panti, 36, Zai Nyo,31; Awngla, 28; and Zai
24. All were originally from Sanien Tract, Panglong Township, from
they were forced to relocate on 24 August 1997 to Loilem. Finding
help and few jobs to make a living, they had decided to come to
with their families to work in the fruit orchards of Fang.
The Wa unit stationed nearby later told the villagers that the
villagers had accidentally stepped on the mine set up there as a
against surprise attacks either by Thais or the Burmese.
Namhukhoon is only about 3 km from the Thai- Shan boundary.
Wei's Son Back from Taiwan
It was learned from reliable sources that Wei Xuegang's son, who came
recently from Taiwan, where he had been studying, was greeted at
and flown to Mandalay where the older Wei is setting up his business.
Wei's younger brother, Xueying, looks after his business interests
Mongyawn during his absence.
Wei was reported to have been offered a higher position in the Wa
in order to keep him in Panghsang but he declined. He said he was
with his present post as the commander of the 171st Division
MICB: Porters die of exhaustion and malnutrition in Karen state
August 13, 2000
Between April, 27, 2000 to July, 20, 2000, fourteen porters died of
ill-treatment, exhaustion and malnutrition under SPDC troops in Karen
of Burma. The porters were from among an estimated 400 prisoners of
Mandalay jail and
on April, 26, 2000, they were handed over to the porter-recruiting
Myaing Galay, Hlaing Bwe township of Karen state. Myaing Galay
porter-recruiting camps are under the command of Light Infantry
On June, 10, 2000, some SPDC soldiers forced two porters to eat
tablets and the two died of exhaustion.
The soldiers of Light Infantry Battalion 81 under brigade 22 forced
to take the tablets in order to enable them to carry more heavy loads
the long journey. After five hours of portering, one of the porters
exhaustion on the top of the mountain and another died after about
The two porters were Ko San Win ( 28 years) and U Aye Oo Naing (31
of Myittila, Mandalay division.
New Era Journal: the French Connection
[The New Era Journal (Khip Yaing) is a Burmese language periodical
published in Bangkok and smuggled into Burma. This article was
posted to the Internet on August 13. Date of print publication not
By Kanbawza Win in the New Era Journal
"Liberty, Equality and Fraternity", did not come easily to the people
France and yet today the French have little or no idea that the
situation in Burma is similar, if not worse, than that of the French
citizens prior to the 1789 revolution.
The most lamentable element in the present situation is that the
government, which partly owns Total oil company, has openly sided
Burmese military junta against the Burmese people. Total knew what
doing when it deliberately invested in Burma while others withdrew
the market for ethical reasons.
Not long ago the French baron Thierry Desjardins, an ardent supporter
Chirac stated, "Burma is now on the right track economically. Experts
foresee this country will become one of the most powerful of Asia's
dragons in the 21st century."
Burmese pro-democracy movement would not label it as typical of French
behaviour, but the French government's actions seems to point a
that direction. Even Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Peace Nobel
and leader of the pro democratic movement says that "As a Burmese,
hardly understand the French attitude. At a time when the whole world
boycotting Burma, 55% of the tourists arriving in Burma are from
France is overlooking the poor human rights record of the Rangoon
Junta in order to safeguard its investments."
Recently a French reporter was fired from his job when he tried to
the true situation and mention the human rights violations and the
drug trade, which the Burmese generals are indirectly encouraging.
Unlike in the United States, where Burmese and American activists
campaigning against the Burmese Junta, the French public has little
interest and information about Burma. Many French citizens do not
know where Burma is or visit the country without a twinge of
The French business community clearly knows where and what Burma is,
France is the biggest European investor in the country in spite of
punitive measures against the Burmese military government.
The former French Ambassador to Burma said, "French businessmen are
normally freer to follow the leader when it comes to business, but
time they are in the forefront."
Moreover, he encouraged French businessmen, who had rushed to invest
Vietnam and were looking for an alternative because they had become
discouraged by the red tape and corruption, to invest in Burma, in
of the latter's ties with the Francophone countries.
At the end of March 1996, in Paris, during the World Tourism Fair.
Kyaw Ba, the junta's former Minister of Tourism, was the guest of
The organizers, together with the President of the Association of
Professional Journalists for Tourism, and the director of Asia
main French tour agency operating in Burma, were awarded the Gulliver
Prize of Cultural Discovery to Burma.
The French have invested in gas turbines, railway equipment, and ATR
passenger planes, thereby silently shoring up the Burmese generals.
According to the junta's statistics bureau, French investment in Burma
amounts to only $455 million. But everybody knows that this is just a
fraction of it.
The links between the French government and Total are dominated by
government officials and diplomats. When General Maung Aye,
Vice-Chairperson of the Burmese junta, visited France, he was given
red carpet treatment by government officials in tandem with the
leaders. In July, 1998, Paris welcomed the Burmese Minster heading a
delegation for a new loan from the French bankers. By this action,
knowingly violated the spirit of the European Union sanctions
entry to any of the regime officials. This is a typical example of
"French Connection" works with the French government and its
corporations putting more emphasis on the economic lure than on their
Although TOTAL claims that its interest in Burma is purely
oil compact has already found itself an unwitting partner in the
side of doing business with the military junta. The French narcotics
group, Observatoire Geopolitical des Drogues (OGD) proved that
the oil company Total have been used by the junta to disguise the
the sale of heroin finances weapons purchases. Such purchases have
amounted to $2.4 billion, according to the Stockholm International
Research Institute (SIPRI). Smaller weapons contracts have been
between the junta and Poland for the purchase of twenty-four used
helicopters, including pilot training.
Thus, the OGD questioned, "How could Poland 's Nobel Peace Prize
Lech Walesa, accept narco dollars for the sale of military equipment
regime that is repressing a fellow Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San
Warsaw, understandably embarrassed, replied that it was paid for with
revenues from Total and this let the cat our of the bag. Of course
Total denied this vigorously. But it is a fact that Burma's SPDC
narco-dictatorship can easily disguise its narco dollars with petro
Heroin income allows the military regime to remain solvent until the
oil money begins to flow in. But everybody knows that the purchase
are being paid for with drug money. Total has admitted that they
fund the purchase of a helicopter. A Frenchman named Pichon, a former
military attache now turned arms dealer, brokered the deal.
Francois Casanier, in the November 5th, 1996, issue of the Digipresse
Paris, revealed that the Burmese generals had for the last four
using the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) as its
channel for laundering drug money. The report claimed that the
set up in 1992 after Far Eastern Economic Review published a report
connecting the Junta's massive arms purchases with the illicit sale
This revelation coincided with the signing of a contract between MOGE
Total of France, and provided the generals with an opportunity to
their tracks. At that time, Total reportedly purchased natural gas
from MOGE for $15 million. The money was paid into MOGE's Singapore
account. According to Polish officials, the Junta used the payment
Total to pay for its purchase of 24 second-hand military helicopters,
training for its pilots in Poland.
However, Digipresse noted that the Polish contract was worth four
amount officially paid by Total. Where did the rest of the money
from? It is well known that the Burma does not have sufficient
reserves to make dollar transfers to MOGE in Singapore. MOGE has no
income apart from limited payments from foreign oil companies such as
signature bonuses for oil and gas exploration concessions. Yet
account in Singapore has handled transfers of hundreds of millions of
dollars since the first Total payment. If this is not drug money,
Another example is that in 1993 and at the end of 1994, huge cash
were made to the MOGE Singapore account from banks in the northern
city of Mae Sai. Apparently, Burmese military officers used to fly to
Tachilek in Burma with parcels of bank notes, walk across the bridge
Thai-Burma border town of Mai Sai, and deposited the funds in the Thai
banks. This convenient channel was discontinued after press reports
uncovered the arrangements. The majority of these funds allegedly
from the drug trade in the form of donations from traffickers in
their military protectors, or as the Burmese junta's share of profits
According to Digipresse, the cash flowing out of MOGE's bank account
Singapore bears no relation to its expressed official business. MOGE
paid in hard currency for a variety of purchases, including military
hardware from Poland and Portugal, the operating cost of the Junta's
embassies, and the creation of finance companies - many in Singapore -
invest in Burma's emerging private sector.
According to Digipresse, the generals' and MOGE's transparent
in laundering drug funds is causing embarrassment to its foreign oil
partners. For example, Daniel Valot, who heads Total's Exploration
Production division, said that Total has invested one billion US
the Yadana natural gas project, and that MOGE would contribute 5% of
costs of the project. But according to an interview granted by
management to a delegation of the Federation Internationale des
Driots de l'homme, it was revealed that MOGE is not in a position to
its share and will do so only after the gas starts to flow. The
question is, if MOGE cannot pay to participate in the TOTAL project,
is it getting funds to pay for the other purchases?
According to Digipresse, the junta's partners have devised a strategy
diversify the regime's apparent sources of income. The Visit Burma
1996 was but one of them. It is a pity that the French did not
the French government itself was involved in the narco-business.
To cover up this "Hush Hush" deal and to paint the picture that the
junta is doing its best to suppress opium-heroin trade the Paris based
police organization INTERPOL held its anti- narcotic drug conference
Rangoon just a few blocks away from where the notorious drug war
Hsa and Lo Hsing Han were staying. Of course the U.S. and other
knew about it and refused to attend, angering the French greatly.
The Burmese people were quite shocked to hear the Foreign Minister's
comments in France's National Assembly that their country's
Burma is minuscule. Total is the largest investor in the country --
supremo of the Yadana consortium and the bearer of the flag waving
cover the multiple crimes of the narco-Burmese generals. What more
is wanted than the nomination of the current French ambassador
Chaffaut, a former director of Elf (now merged with TotalFina) . We
strongly think that TOTAL is more than just a purely private company
Meanwhile, a second French Bank, the Banque Francaise du Commerce
Exterieur, (the first is BNDP), has been opened in Rangoon. M. Pascal
Becker, the bank's chief representative for Burma and Thailand, has
that it will serve clients from Europe and Southeast Asia. Who can
they will not get involved in the laundering of narco dollars as the
of countries close to Burma are doing?
To the Burmese people it seems paradoxical that when they are
under fascism and racism that has been indirectly encouraged by
despite a lot of high-sounding rhetoric from Chirac's presidential
about France as a historic land of the rights of man. It seems
is very rotten at the heart of France's Total. If no Frenchmen
to point out that Michel Junot, the former Deputy of President Jacques
Chirac, oversaw the deportation of one thousand Jews from occupied
to a Nazi death camp in 1942 during the Vichy regime, why give
consideration to these unknown Burmese, seems to be their logic..
Thierry Desmarest, the Chief Executive Officer of Total, is very
with French President Chirac and accompanied him on his trip to China
Asia, pushing for the Burmese Junta's recognition and integration
international community of nations. On May 24, 1997, President Chirac
"In France we are very sensitive about Human Rights. I am convinced
the way the world is evolving today, each civilisation, with its own
history and identity, is moving towards the recognition of a certain
of universal values. We can see this evolution everywhere, but each
is moving forward in its own manner, at different speeds."
What hypocrisy could be more glaring than the French endeavouring to
maintain the status quo by not supporting the United Nations
Human Rights in Geneva. France has consistently refused to back the
resolution criticising China's human rights records, not to mention
of the Burma. Perhaps it is time to teach the French the real value
"Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" and that the country will not
ruled by dictators and one day when democracy prevails in Burma we
want the French to be sorry when they find themselves on the wrong
The Nation: Way of the Warlords
Monday, August 14, 2000
ôIn the third part of the NationÆs series investigating the shadowy
of illicit drugs trading, Preecha Sa-ardsrn traveled to Chiang Mai
in search of an interview with an alleged drug lord.ö
Of the Bt2.4 billion that passes through 13 hanks in Chiang Mai's Mae
Fang and Chai Prakan districts each month, just Btl.4 billion is
to be legitimate revenue, predominantly from the region's productive
and lychee orchards. The remaining Bt l billion cannot be accounted
Third Region Army intelligence sources believe it is all drug money.
Speed pills are available in Thailand for Btl5 to Btl8 each just
kilometres from the border with Burma.
The price goes up to Bt30 to Bt40 at local markets in the
provinces and inflates to Bt50 to Bt70 once the drugs make it to the
streets of Bangkok. The amphetamines mostly originate in Burma, and
than 600 million tablets are delivered to this country annually.
But the lucrative trade has led to production increases - this year
estimated 800 million pills could make their way into Thailand.
Army intelligence sources believe they have managed to compile a
substantial profile of the hierarchy behind the drugs trade and its
One group operates under the leadership of a Mae Ai district headman,
Ta, and is said to have links with Myanmar's ethnic United Wa State
Lao Ta is a name synonymous with drug trafficking in the Northeast.
been arrested three times, but the charges have never been made to
His group is based in an area that borders China. Another group was
from two smaller operations.
One group, once lead by General Tuan Siwen, bonded with the powerful
group in the late 1980.
The alliance was forged when the general died of cancer on May 23,
After he died, there was a power-struggle within the group, with Ai
and Li Yishan emerging as the winners. They pledged allegiance to the
powerful Weis. Among the Weis group's leaders were Wei Xiaogang, and
Xiaoyin. To this day, the group produces heroin and amphetamines in
just across the Thai border from Mae Ai district. But the Weis group
had it troubles. The notorious narcotic kingpin, Khun Sa, once made
power felt in an area known as Doi Lang, where the Weis manufactured
narcotic products. The Weis proved weaker in the ensuing stand-off
resorted to calling in United Wa State Army mercenaries - from
Chang province. An extended period of armed hostilities followed,
in-fighting among the Khun Sa forces offered a window of opportunity
both Thai and Burmese military forces to bombard the area. The Weis
retreated as a result, but dug in just 2km inside Burma, at Muang-
continue their illicit trade. Once the drugs are in northeastern
another powerful figure comes into play. Enter Lao Ta.
There are six main distribution points from the northeast.
A Fang strong-woman oversees the first of those distribution points.
She is closely related to Ko Yao, the brother of Ah Lu, who was once
seriously wounded in a chase-and-shoot assassination attempt - a
the bloody ways of drug politics.
The woman has connections at Chiang Mai airport and is well-connected
important police figures.
It is through these highly-placed connections that air transport is
arranged. There are flights to various parts of the country that go
undetected. She also has links with Taiwanese chemical suppliers,
the supply of precursor chemicals required for amphetamine
second route centres on a collection of firearm dealerships that have
progressed from arms dealing to full-time drug shipping. Their shift
drug trafficking was facilitated by the profits to be made from
The third distribution network centres on a group of Mae Ai district
dealerships, which double as suppliers of stolen off-road vehicles,
invariably Toyota Landcruisers.
Another holding major holding point is a series of poultry farms in
Chiang Mai and Mae Taeng districts. The farms are a bulk-storage
amphetamines. The drugs are buried around the farms, because sniffer
have a hard time detecting them. The fifth distribution network
Tak, where an ethnic Hmong leader has established an amphetamine
sixth point is presided over by an ethnic Muser leader, w,ho
private army to protect his two amphetamine factories in Huay Lam
This man has been known to offer himself as surety, to bail-out
arrested on narcotic charges and thought to be connected with Lao Ta.
are the major distribution operators, however there are several
are believed by Army intelligence sources to be aiding and abetting
amphetamine trafficking and to have ties with Lao Ta.
One of them is a politician from a major party in the ruling
coalition - he
was identified only as the "strategist of a party of leading northern
politicians". A police general once publicly claimed the politician
shielded drug suspects from prosecution. The general and the
the past clashed vehemently and continually in relation to the
rampant narcotics trade. But one day their animosity ended, however,
the general introduced his aide, known as "Chaiwat", to "Ton Mulek",
Lao Ta's powerful henchmen. It is believed Chaiwat, a police officer,
became heavily involved in drug dealing. It was about this time that
in-fighting began in the upper echelon of the Lao Ta group, with a
relation of Lao Ta trying to expand his sphere of influence. Ton
Chaiwat apparently became concerned about the man's growing
influence, thinking their power-base could be eroded. The man was
assassinated. Police later claimed Ton Mulek was responsible for the
killing. However he was never arrested. Chaiwat allegedly killed him.
general has since claimed he "planted" Chaiwat in the upper echelon
drug trade to keep a watch on operations. The greatest shield however
Lao Ta has been afforded is believed to be a politician identified
his initial, "M", who built a posh mansion in Chiang Mai.
He is said to have bought his way into the House of Representatives
Some believe that Lao Ta's role has been somewhat exaggerated. They
that military of ficers invented a Lao Ta myth, in order to deflect
attention from their own drug operations. It was in reaction to such
rumours that Third Region Army Commander Wathanachai Chaimuanwong
introduced a system of "constant rotation" of his soldiers.
The logic behind the continual troop rotations was that soldiers
never be stationed in one place long enough to be tempted by drug
looking to bribe them. That Lao Ta's amphetamine ring - which makes
influence felt in Chiang Mai's border districts of Mae Ai, Fang and
Prakan - has the backing of powerful politicians, means it remains
Local politicians carry their share of blame for the spread of
amphetamines, according to intelligence collected by the Third Army
Sources claim a Chiang Mai-based politician has ties with a local
politician in Wiang Haeng district, and that both are heavily
the cross-border drugs trade.
The Chiang Mai politician is said to be connected with the United Wa
Army. Together they are said to operate two amphetamine factories -
Sang township across the border from Ban Arunothai hamlet in
Chiang Dao district, and in Piang Luang village in Burma's Wiang
A man called Kawnueng wholesales the amphetamines to Thai dealers,
as a liaison between producers and politicians.
But earnings from drugs must be camouflaged somehow. One drug and
underworld figure, known only as the "celebrity chief of statf',
false persona to account for his wealth - he spread rumours he owned
ran a number of companies in Burma. In fact, his dealings were
predominantly with ethnic groups, particularly ethnic Wa in Muang
establish a drug network. Profits from the resulting drug economy
resulted in a large town being built near the Thai-Burma border.
Amphetamines shipped from that township find their way into Thailand
trucks, the drivers of which take advantage of the price differences
between Burma and Thailand to reap handsome profits. The largest
ever detected by the authorities in Thailand are thought to have been
linked with the "celebrity chief of staff". But he eventually sold
the ethnic Wa forces. The chief of staff these days apparently sticks
extortion, a trade he knows well.
However even after publicly claiming he had never been involved in
narcotics trading, his name lives on, taken advantage of bv some of
Chin Human Rights Org: Burma Refugees Without Unhcr Support in Delhi
New Delhi, August 14, 2000
Hundreds of Burma refugees in New Delhi face the possible starvation
homeless as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
New Delhi cannot pay the monthly allowance for this month. The UNHCR,
which has been providing the amount of Indian Rupee 1,550 per month
person to its refugees in India, could not make the payment in the
week of August as it used to make. It is now in the half of the month
and seems that UNHCR would not be able to pay the allowance in the
coming days either. When contacted to the UNHCR office in Delhi, some
refugees are informed that it might not be possible to make payment
20th of this month.
The UNHCR Office in Delhi cited the reason as "the serious financial
constraints that UNHCR is facing globally". Apparently, the Geneva
headquarters has not sanctioned allowance money for the refugees in
Due to delay of the payment from UNHCR, some landlords have evicted
refugees from their houses as the refugees cannot pay house rent on
time. Some are forcing the refugees to pay rent immediately by cutting
water or electricity supplies. "We know of at least a hundred families
of them", said a community leader, who along with others are now
desperately seeking financial and material assistance from
non-governmental organizations and individuals in Delhi.
"Some families are starving, as they have no means of support
whatsoever. The children studying in schools cannot pay their tuition
fees", he continues. An emergency relief committee was formed on last
Friday in a meeting of Burma refugee community held in New Delhi to
ad hoc financial and food supplies for the refugees.
Since September 1988, when the military came to power by a coup in
Burma, hundreds of Burmese nationals, mostly students and youth
pro-democracy activists, have crossed the border to India. A large
number of Burmese refugees, mostly ethnic Chin, have also taken
in India due to human rights abuses, political and economic hardship
under the military regime. Approximately between 40,000 to 50,000 Chin
nationals are currently staying in India's northeastern state Mizoram.
In recent weeks, the Mizoram government launched a crackdown on these
Burma nationals in the state and about one thousand Chin asylum-
are being detained in various jails in Mizoram. They face possible
forced return to Burma after their release from prison.
Of the number 800 Burma nationals currently staying in Delhi, about
are recognized and protected refugees of the UNHCR in India. There are
about one hundred and fifty families with a hundred children (mostly
between the age of 2 to 7 years). There are about one hundred refugees
whose application for refugee status are either rejected or pending
the UNHCR office and thus they are not entitled to UNHCR's any
humanitarian assistance. Even UNHCR-recognized refugees experience
hardship and problems in their daily life due to inadequate financial
assistance provided by UNHCR.
In July this year, UNHCR office in Delhi informed the refugees that
monthly allowance from July this year would be at Rupees 1,400 (about
$ 31) per person, in stead of 1,550 paid in previous months. The worst
yet come in this month, as UNHCR cannot pay the allowance money to the
refugees till date.
_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________
SHAN: A Market Day At The Border
Shan Herald Agency for News
13 August 2000
Strolling though the lane between rows of smiling marketeers round
rectangular man-made lake, one can easily forget the tensions,
and sufferings inside Shan State of Burma.
Nawng Ook, aka Arunothai, in Chiangdao District is known to embrace
biggest ex-Kuomintang community in northern Thailand. A yet to be
Asian highway passes through the village to the townships of Mongton,
Mongpan, Langkhurh, Mongnai, Loilem and Taunggyi, the capital of Shan
State, 240 miles away.
It is a three days a week market, from Wednesday to Friday. The
is inside Thailand about 3 km from the BP (Border Pass) 1 checkpoint.
Villagers from the two townships of Mongton and Monghsat across the
and three districts in Thailand, namely, Wianghaeng, Chiangdao and
Chaiprakrakarn can be seen buying and selling or just window-
(Thai and Burmese use different English terms for the same
divisions and have caused unending confusion between each other as
Tambon(circle) Village Tract
S.H.A.N.'s explanation is not the first and may very well be not the
From the Shan side, there are bran, pigs, iguanas, sesame, onions,
hemp, mulberry, "hebtawb" (edible ball-shaped mushrooms) incense
riped tamarind, cheroot, dry beancurd, sausages, tea, alcohol,
vermicelli, herbal medicine, Burmese slippers, longyi (Burmese skirts
by men) and others. Chinese commoditees are also scattered out here
there. Cattle, 150-200 head each week, are also sold here.
From the Thai side there are plastic, mats, cooking oil, clothings,
tape recorders and, especially, construction materials such as cement
fetches at least twice the Thai price 30 miles away at Nakawngmu
building spree has been going on since June when the UWSA began their
expansion towards Khun Sa's old playground.
Shoppers from the Shan State include family members of the rich Wa
and those who were relocated from Panghsang, the Wa capital up in the
It goes without saying that appointments for drug shipments and
are also being made here, although it was reported that both
and heroin, hidden among the unforbidden goods, also passed through
checkpoints until the Thais stiffened up their vigilance since last
"It is quite doubtful that the bulk of drugs is still passing through
border near here," said a friendly shop-keeper in Nawng Ook. "Even
refugees who tried to slip into Thailand not far from here were being
summarily executed by the Thai army. Since then most of the drug
have moved from Chiangdao to Chaiprakarn, Fang and MaeAi districts.
Inevitably, there are also people, who, not being accepted as
come to sell their labor in Bangkok. Each pays B.5,000 to reach there
truck drivers who are willing to take the risks involved are not so
difficult to find, say the shop-keeper.
On inquiry, the carfares from the border to various destinations in
State were told to be as follows:
BP1- Poongpakhem -- B.30
BP1- Mongton -- K.700
Mongton - Mongpan -- K.6,000
BP1 - Panglong -- K.16,000
"Since the distance from BP1 to Panglong is only 210 miles, it looks
travel by car to Panglong is even more expensive than flying from
to Bangkok that is three times as far," said a Thai businessman.
"The exorbitant prices alone explain the mess the people have been
to undergo," he remarked succinctly.
Reported by: Saeng Khao Haeng
Mizzima: Asia's currencies on skid row?
New Delhi, August 12, 2000
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)
Local currencies of Thailand, Bangladesh, India and Burma plunged into
sharp decline in exchanging with U.S dollar in the past three days,
business reports pointed out. Thailand' Baht, India's Rupee, Burma's
Kyat and Bangladesh's Taka have plummeted to a record slump against
dollar and the currency slide has made the governments to review the
volatile situation of foreign exchange market in their respective
India's rupee tumbled down to a new all time low of Rs. 46.05/10 to
dollar yesterday, breaching the psychological level of Rs. 46 versus
dollar. Although it closed at Rs.45.80 yesterday evening, judging by
recent trend of rupee-dollar exchange rate, the rupee has dropped by
almost five per cent in the past four-five months, with the slide
accelerating in the past two weeks in India. Indian Prime Minister Mr.
Atal Behari Vajpayee had to intervene the matter by convening a
high-level ministerial meeting yesterday to review the situation.
In Dhaka, the central bank of Bangladesh yesterday decided to devalue
the country's Taka currency against the U.S dollar by a record six
percent amid the reports of Taka slide in the exchange with dollar.
Taka plummeted to a rate of 56.50 per U.S dollar, compared with 53
Another neighbor, Burma faces a sharp plunge in the exchange rate of
Kyat against the dollar. Exchange rate in Rangoon and Mandalay stands
around 393 Kyat to the U.S. dollar today.
The exchange rate in Indo-Burma border trade has similarly slipped to
7.9 Kyat to one Indian Rupee, compared with 7.7 Kyat three days ago.
Five months ago, the exchange rate was 6.8 Kyat to one Indian Rupee.
a result, the flow of goods from Burma to India across the border has
stopped. "The border trade (across Moreh) was virtually halted due to
volatile currency transaction", said a trader based in Moreh, border
town of India with Burma. "It is likely that the Kyat (Burma) will
more and more in the exchange in near future", he continues.
Xinhua: Myanmar-Thailand Bilateral Trade Drops in 1999-2000
Xinhua, Rangoon, 10 August, 2000. Bilateral trade between Myanmar
and Thailand, including the border trade, came to 393.83 million
U. S. dollars in 1999-2000 fiscal year which ended in March, a drop of
33.78 percent compared with 1998-99 fiscal year, according to the
Economic Indicators published by the Central Statistical Organization.
Of the total bilateral trade in 1999-2000 fiscal year, Myanmar's
Thailand amounted to 330.45 million dollars, falling by 8.4 percent
1998-99 fiscal year.
Meanwhile, Myanmar's export to Thailand stood at 63.38 million
down by 72.8 percent compared with 1998-99 fiscal year when it was
233.76 million dollars.
In 1999-2000 fiscal year, there was a trade deficit of 267.07 million
for Myanmar in its bilateral trade with Thailand, which accounted for
percent of Myanmar's total foreign trade.
In addition to normal trade, Myanmar also has border trade with
opening up four border trade points at Tachilek, Myawaddy, Kawthoung
and Phaya Thonzu.
Thailand stands as Myanmar's third largest trading partner after
and China. Thailand also stands as the third largest foreign investor
Myanmar after Singapore and Britain, with a total investment of over
U.S. dollars in 46 projects.
_____________________ OTHER ______________________
The BurmaNet News is an Internet newspaper providing comprehensive
coverage of news and opinion on Burma (Myanmar) from around the
world. If you see something on Burma, you can bring it to our
attention by emailing it to strider@xxxxxxx
For a subscription to Burma's only free daily newspaper, write to:
You can also contact BurmaNet by phone or fax:
Voice mail or fax (US) +1(202) 318-1261
You will be prompted to press 1 for a voice message or 2 to send a
fax. If you do neither, a fax tone will begin automatically.
Fax (Japan) +81 (3) 4512-8143
To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: