Distinguished Dignitaries Gracing
State Peace and Development Council Secretary-1, Chairman, Vice Chairman and Member of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, Military and Civil Heads of departments, Resident Representatives of United Nations Agencies, diplomats, military attaches, local and foreign correspondents, specially invited guests from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
I am Colonel Soe Win,
Director-General of the Myanmar Police Force, Secretary of the Central Committee
for Drug Abuse Control.
On behalf of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control may I express my gratitude to all of you for giving your time to attend this ceremony for the 12th Destruction of Seized Drugs, and may I also wish you peace both in body and mind.
The presentation today is in two parts. First, I will present to you on the behalf of the CCDAC the latest facts and figures concerning endeavours by Myanmar to eradicate drugs. The second part will be presentation by CCDAC member Police Colonel Manng Maung Than of the CID concerning drugs to be destroyed today.
At this point I shall not be elaborating on the poppy cultivation problem of who started it and how it was initiated in Myanmar because most of the Dinstinguished Guests attending this Ceremony are fully Conversant with them "
A proper study of efforts in Myanmar for drug eradication through the ages would show, as attested by Royal Decrees, that ancient Myanmar monarchs passed the death sentence on opium eaters and traffickers. After regaining our national independence, the Government of the Union of Myanmar instituted measures for eradication of the drug habit and social rehabilitation of addicts within five years. The Revolutionary Council promulgated the 1974 Narcotic Drugs Law and enforced it.
In the time of the Government of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Myannar, measures were taken with a national outlook, with the formation and activation of the central committee, work committees and regional committees. United Nations Drug Control Programme, other organizations and nations including the United States cooperated.
In the time of the State Law and Order Restoration Council, the central committee and work committees were reconstituted and measures were taken according to two strategies and three tactics. Specially with the conviction that with the socioeconomic uplift of the opium poppy cultivators in the border areas there will be eradication of poppy cultivation, a separate ministry was established. Furthermore, the Chairman of the State Peace and Development Councils Senior General Than Shwe the Central Committee for the Development of Border Areas and National Races and the Secretary (1) is the Chairman of the Work Committee for the Development of Border Areas and National Races, totally spending over eight billion kyats. Effort were made in 1991 under a six-year plan to turn the Mongla region in Shan State (East) into an Opium Free Zone, and it was achieved on 22 April 1997. Similar efforts are being continually made to turn Kokang and Wa regions into Opium Free Zones in the very near future. Moreover, projects are being implemented with the cooperation of tire United Nations Drug Control Programme and other organizations and neighbouring countries for regional development, eradication and demand reduction and in addition projects in the region and sub-regions on the strength of MoUs involving three states and six states respectively are being implemented and also in cooperation with members of the Association of South East Asian Nations.
In the time of the State Peace and Development Council, the Central Committee was reconstituted, specially in line with the policy to involve ministers and deputy ministers, personally providing leadership. Tire CCDAC, in building up the momentum of narcotic drugs eradication and long-term success has implemented Base line Data Collection projects on poppy cultivation and drug addicts.
To sum up, it was the British and the Americans who got the nationals involved in drugs, and beginning with divide-and-rule administrative policy, they implemented schemes to destroy national unity Therefore, I would like you, Distinguished Guests, to reason for yourselves and decide as to "Who is the real culprit"
With a view to honouring the upcoming 53rd Anniversary Armed Forces Day, I would now like to present the role of the Tatmadaw in measures for drug eradication.
Our Tatmadaw is a National Army born of the freedom struggle.
The internal insurrection that was spawned by the colonialists after we regained independence in 1948 was further aggravated after 1970 because of their support and the trafficker and the insurgent became inseparable.
A glance back at history would show that after the Kuomintang (Nationalist Chinese) were beaten in 1949 and had to flee from China, some KMT Divisions intruded into northern and eastern Shan State at the behest and support of the Central Intelligence Agency in line with tits scheme to make forays into mainland China, using Myanmar as base. The Myanma Tatmadaw had to launch operations Naganaing, Yangyiaung, Bayintnaung, Mekong, etc to drive the intruders out. The remnants of the KMT organized local insurgents in die area and were active together. To sustain their basic needs and arsenals, the KMT stragglers forced tile local people to cultivate opium poppy. The refined opium into its derivatives brown sugar and heroin. which they trafficked. The main market was the other country which had good ports, airports and connections via which the drugs found their way to other countries.
I would like to lay emphasis on the fact that introduction of drugs and their trafficking started with the schemes of the British colonialists and the Americans with cultivation and trafficking committed by insurgents of different eras, tile KMT insurgents and lastly the BCP insurgents financing themselves through profits of the poppy, refining it into heroin and brown sugar and trafficking them.
In Myanmar, Drugs and insurgents existed side by side. Ethnic insurgent groups were formed and some of those groups cultivated opium poppy, produced opiates, and trafficked them extensively. Therefore, beginning with the operations against the KMT in 1948-49 right up to the operations against insurgent traffickers today, our Tatmadaw has been sacrificing sweat and blood, and lives.
In combating the spread of drugs, we have launched Operations Mehlone, Ngayepan and Taunghteikpan which involved manual destruction of crops, and Operation Taungyanshin which involved aerial spraying.
In operations to seek out and destroy opium refineries on the border, there was Special Operation Mohein with regional action in 12 phases from 26 April 1976 to 24 April 1988 that took our troops into Kengtung, Tachilek, Mongton and Monghsat in eastern Shan State and also the Thai border.
The 12-year period saw 159 major and minor battles in which 205 enemy were captured dead and 18 alive, together with an assortment of 294 arms and 70607 assorted ammunition, 5,453.9 kilos raw opium, 159.61 kilos heroin, large amounts of precursor chemicals and paraphernalia.
On our side, 109 sacrificed their lives and 572 were wounded. That is the record of Operation Mohein.
Since 1989, armed national groups, realizing that their acts had adversely affected national unity and also hindered development in their areas and their socio-economic life, decided to seek peace and work together with the Tatmadaw Government for development of their areas. So far, 16 armed groups have exchanged arms for peace and are working with the Government for regional development.
At the same time, the Tatmadaw mounted operations from 1994 to 1996 in the Tachilek, Mongton, Monghkat acid border areas of eastern Shan State to crush the Mong Tai Army of drug traffickers.
In those operations, 468 enemy were capture dead, together with 189 assorted weapons, 12,637 assort~9d ammunition and 1,078 assorted bombs. On our side, 766, including 20 officers sacrificed their lives and 2,292 including 81 officers were wounded. Them were - 166 contacts with the enemy. The Tatmadaw, employing military and organizational means, effectively saw to the surrender of the Mong Tai Army led by U Khun Sa, with a strength exceeding 15,000 bringing in about 10,000 assorted arms and a large cache of ammo in different parts of Shan State.
In other words, they exchanged arms for peace. For them and other similar armed groups who thus exchanged arms for peace, the Government has facilitated active participation in rehabilitation and development.
These endevours have been made with objectives aimed at achieving national unity, regional development and drug eradication.
A quick run-though of Myanmar*s drug eradication endeavours would provide the following evidence.
In 1996, 1,300.002 kilo opium, 504.6033 kilo heroin, 13,809 kilos brown sugar, 263.786 kilos marijuana and 5.9 million tablets amphetamine were seized. That was the highest record chalked up between 1988 and 1996. However, compared to that, the record in 1997 included seizure of 7883.97 kilos (over 7 tons) raw opium, 1,401.08 kilos (over one ton) heroin, while in the previous year only about four tons and destroyed 33 heroin refineries, together with presursor chemicals and paraphernalia, as also those used in production of amphetamines. Therefore, our endevadour in 1997 netted the highest cost.
The credit for such success by the Tatmadaw in 1997 is due to its endeavour in operations thus capturing heroin refineries, exposing contraband opium, the Military Intelligence working in concert with the police, the Customs and regional organizations, working in unison.
Therefore, we put on record here and honour the Tatmadaw, the Police, Customs and other Organizations which collaborated.
We are using our own resources to develop the whole country, it is necessary for the international community to study the true face about our country ru14 instead of accusations, help in the fight against the dangers of narcotic drug.
CCDAC feels that the dangers of narcotic drugs is a problem of the whole of mankind and not just that of one country. We are ready to cooperate with any country that have the basic good will.
Myanmar has cooperated with the U.S in Conducting four opium yield survey between 1993 and 1998.
In the endeavonrs for eradication of hard drugs, the following data stands out:
Although there was assistance from various countries from 1974 to 1988, the areas where there were poppy cultivations and where opium way refined into brown sugar and heroin remained under insurgent control. Therefore, operations only for drug control and eradication were possible and regional development could not be undertaken. For instance, when roads and bridges, hospitals and clinics and schools were built, the insurgents got in the way or destroyed them.
Today, the armed groups having made peace with the Government are practically involved in ensuring area peace and tranquillity and under such favourable conditions, we can work for improvement of socio-economic conditions.
While concerted efforts are being made for drug eradication on our own, success will take time due to technical and financial constraints.
Drug eradication will succeed within a short time if there is international participation Therefore, quoting the slogan "Let's cooperate to eradicate drugs", I conclude.
I am Police Colonel Maung Maung Than Member of the Law Enforcement Sector and Director of the Criminal Investigation Department. Myarmar Police Force.
In the second part, I shall be presenting the figures of narcotic drugs that have bean destructed in the past and of those that will be destructed to-day. To-day's destruction includes narcotic drugs that were seized by Law Enforcement Agencies such as the Army, Myanmar Police Force, die Customs Department and other agencies on which judgement had been passed by this Courts as which are under custody at the CID.
The narcotic drugs that are to be destructed to-day are: Opium -4587.292 kgs Heroin -898.43 kgs Morphine -93.953 kgs Opium Oil -8.642 kgs Opium Liquid -11.304 kgs Inferior Opium -20.95 kgs Marjuana -138.877 kgs Phensedyl -1499.975 litres Stimulant -2842783 tablets Cough Syrup -88.190 gallons (contain opium) Cough Pastille -4845 pastilles
(contain opium) Methaqualone tablets -750 tablets Morphine Injection -180 ampoules.
The grant total of all the narcotic drugs destroyed up to this the twelth destruction are:
Please may I state that there will be further destruction of seized narcotic drugs in the furture. Please feel free to inspect the drugs displayed before you prior to destructing them with your own hands.