16th Destruction of Sized Narcotic Drugs, Poppy seeds, precursor chemical and paraphernalia (7 June,2002), Lashio, Shan State (North).


The Destruction Ceremony of poppy seeds, seized narcotic drugs, precursor chemicals and paraphernalia handed over to the authorities by farmers of Shan State (North) and organized by the Central Committee for Drugs Abuse Control, was held at the sports grounds in Lashio, Shan State (North), on 7 June morning, attended by Chairman of the Work Committee for Development of Border Areas and National Races Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt.

Also present on the occasion were Chairman of Shan State (North) Peace and Development Council Commander of North-East Command Brig-Gen Myint Hlaing, Chairman of CCDAC Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing, Vice-Chairman Minister for Foreign Affairs U Win Aung, the ministers, the Chief of Staff (Navy), the deputy ministers, officials of the State Peace and Development Council Office, departmental heads, the resident representative of UNDCP, the Japanese Ambassador, Charges d' Affaires ai of the embassies of the United States and the People's Republic of China, local authorities, departmental personnel, national race leaders of Special Region-1 Kokang Region, Special Region-2 Wa Region, Special Region-3 Shan Region, Special Region-5 Kachin Region and Special Region-7 Palaung Region of Shan State (North), representatives of peace groups, Secretary of Myanmar Correspondents Club U Nyunt Tin, member correspondents, correspondents of foreign news agencies, members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association, Maternal and Child Welfare Association, War Veterans Organization, Red Cross and Auxiliary Fire Brigades, nurses, traditional cultural troupes, students, guests and local people.

  
CCDAC Chairman Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing delivered an address.
 

Professor Daw Myint Myint Than of English Department of Lashio Degree College and Daw Than Than Htay of Lashio Basic Education Middle School No 3 acted as masters of ceremonies. CCDAC Chairman Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing delivered an address. He said:

I believe that the occasion today is significant and will remain as a milestone in the history of Myanmar's efforts to prevent the narcotic drugs.

It is all known that the cultivation of opium poppy in Myanmar is the treacherous legacy left by the colonialism of the past. Even after regaining independence and on account of divide and rule policy of the colonialists, the insurgents came into existence. The insurgency, cultivation, production of opium, drug trafficking became inseparable elements in the past. Although attempts had been made by successive governments resorting to military, political, negotiation and other ways and means to solve this problem, it was far from achieving successful results.

It is an undeniable fact in history that two kinds of legacy inherited in the era of colonialism of the past such as armed insurrection of the national races and the production of opium has made the ill-famed activities to prolong and open opportunities to external interventions so much so that it has developed from the production of ordinary opium into that of highly concentrated heroin products. After the Tatmadaw Government took over the State power in 1988, the policy of national unity was laid down stressing priority in national solidarity, development of the border regions and the national races. As a result of realizing the Government's objectives with sincere intentions, 17-armed insurgent groups have come back into the legal fold. This unprecedented success laid open for the first time in the post-independence period, opportunities and access to all round development programmes in the entire country and fulfillment of the basic needs of the inhabitants of the border region.

  
Poppy seeds, seized narcotic drugs and presursor chemicals seen at the destruction ceremony in Lashio on 7 June.

Since peace and stability were established, access to far-flung and remote places made possible to carry out prevention and suppression of opium production. As a result of the changing situation, the approach and tactics of addressing drug eradication have also changed by focusing not only on law enforcement activities but coupling with alternative development programmes.

In accordance to the changing situation, the Government laid down the following strategy.

Designation of narcotic drug eradication as a national duty and the comprehensive implementation of that strategy. The development and enhancement of the standard of living of the national races in the border areas and the total eradication of poppy cultivation.

To effectively implement the above strategy elimination, demand elimination and law enforcement tactics are to be utilized.

In addition, the following three techniques are also to be carried out:

To change the mindset, attitude and upgrade the moral of drug producers and drug abusers.

To facilitate easy communication and accessibility between plain and highland dwellers. To develop the economy and social status of the national races of the border region.

  
Poppy seeds, seized narcotic drugs and presursor chemicals seen at the destruction ceremony in Lashio on 7 June.

The drug problems of Myanmar are not only dependent on and inter-related with stability, peace development and solidarity among the national races but also mixed with the regional development, education, health, social, and development of the quality of life of the inhabitants of the regions. As the eradication of drugs has been carried out focusing on the development of fundamental needs and infrastructure development, the local inhabitants and ethnic groups realizing the sincere intentions of the Government have fully cooperated with the programmes. Mongla Special Region 4 in the Eastern Shan State, established as an opium free zone in April, 1977 stands testimony of this successful cooperation.

Acknowledging the Government's sincere efforts and the leaders of the ethnic groups have joined hands with the government in constructing roads, bridges, canals, dams, hydro-power stations and communications stations as the fundamental items to develop the border region and the national races as well as development in crop substitution, livestock breeding for income substitution, education, health sectors with a view to strengthen solidarity and unity among the ethnic brethrens.

The signs of success affected the Kokang and Wa regions, Consequently, the leaders of Kokang and Wa with the full support of their peoples have launched crop substitution and income substitution programmes in their respective regions to finally get rid of opium production by 2005. The possibilities of success are inevitable with this sort of setting and full cooperation of the national races topped by assistance from the Government. This confidence in the national races is one of the reasons that prompted Senior General Than Shwe to give guidance to draft a 15-year elimination plan starting 1999-2002 to 2013-2014 fully relying on our own resources. The 5 projected activities of the 15-year plan are supply and demand elimination of narcotic drugs, organizing the participation of the local populace, law enforcement and international cooperation.

 


Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, guests diplomats and
correspondents inspect seized narcotic drugs, poppy
seeds and paraphernalia at the destruction ceremony
at the Sports Ground in Lashio on 7 June.

With regard to baseline survey of poppy cultivation in Myanmar during 1997-98 seasons, there had been 151,201 acres while it dropped to 62,619 acres in 2001-2002 season. Since 1993, Myanmar has jointly conducted 8 Opium Yield Surveys with the United States of America. According to the surveys so far, it is an undeniable fact that the cultivation and production of opium in Myanmar has been gradually decreasing.

With regard to annual eradication efforts, 10-988 acres were destroyed in 1999-2000, 26,114 acres in 2000-2002 and 26,479 acres in 2001-2002.

At present, the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control has launched "Project New Destiny" in the regions where poppy cultivation is highly concentrated like the Northern Shan State, the Southern Shan State and the Eastern Shan State. The Project calls for prevention of poppy cultivation by taking action with administrative means, distribution of substitute crop-seeds for poppy and the control of opium seeds. The opium farmers are asked to grow 7 kinds of alternative crops instead of opium in 21,969 acres of land as a preventive measures, Substitute seeds are also distributed in time for cultivation to prevent them from falling back to poppy. To implement the project, 42.5 million kyats for the Northern Shan State, 5 million kyats for the Southern Shan State, 2.5 million kyats for the Eastern Shan State, 0.5 million kyats for Kayah State and 2 million kyats for Kachin State, totalling 52.5 million kyats have been loaned and supported by the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control.

While educating the farmers to grow substitute crops instead of poppy, substitute crop seeds that are appropriate to the areas and climate are distributed for cultivation on the other hand, On realizing the sincere intentions the Government, the opium farmers, on their own accord, have come up voluntarily to submit opium seeds they have kept for the next season. To this date, poppy seeds weighing 96,659.507 kilos and dried poppy bulb weighing 76,230.073 kilos in the Northern Shan State, poppy seeds weighing 2,242.109 kilos in the Southern Shan State, poppy seeds weighing 92.06 kilos and dried poppy bulb weighing 8.165 kilos in the Eastern Shan State, poppy seeds weighing 8.165 kilos in the Kayah State and poppy seeds weighing 3,287.229 kilos in Mandalay Division, making a total of poppy seeds weighing 101,289.07 kilos and dried poppy bulb weighing 76,230.481 kilos totalling 73,696.687 baskets of opium seeds and opium bulb weighing 120,346.68 kilos have been voluntarily surrendered to the authorities. In a way, such quantity of seeds that would be grown in over 73,679 acres has been prevented. The local populace had been active not only in crop substitution and alternative development activities but also in law enforcement activities like collecting information, investigation, search and raid of clandestine refineries.

In Laukkai region, they have formed up drug suppression teams on their own and from 1st to the 15th of April 2002, a total of 52 paraphernalia were discovered and seized from the valleys and mountains. It is indication that the local residents had been fully cooperating with the Government.

With regard to drugs control, Myanmar has been cooperating very closing with neighbouring countries as well as countries in the sub-region and region. As per bilateral cooperation, Myanmar and China under the cross-border cooperation project, liaison offices have been opened in Lweje on the 31st October 2000 and in Chin Shwe haw on the 11th March 2001 respectively.

  
Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt presses the button to set fire to the seized narcotic drugs,
poppy seeds and paraphernalia at the Sports Ground in Lashio on 7 June.

Moreover, within 2001 and 2002, Myanmar handed over drug traffickers wanted in China for 8 times including 13 drug traffickers by the Wa on their own arrangement. Documents were also handed over once. Such events have clearly proved that Myanmar is very serious and deeply committed to combat drugs. Myanmar attaches great importance to cooperation in the region and in the international arena and the international media has picked up such incidents.

The above presentation in the efforts and success of drug control covers only some of the activities on Myanmar in cooperation with other countries.

In conclusion, I would like to express here that this Destruction Ceremony to destroy the poppy seeds, seized drugs, chemicals and paraphernalia clearly indicates the result of the commitment and full cooperation of the local inhabitants. If the local inhabitants are fully committed and show this sort of cooperation. I am fully confident the drug scourge threatening the whole mankind will not find a place on the soil of Myanmar.

Then, Chairman of Shan State (North) Peace and Development Council Commander of North-East Command Brig-Gen Myint Hlaing explained endeavors on elimination of narcotic drugs cultivation and production in Shan State. He said:

I would like to state that today's Ceremony is different from the previous occasions because decides narcotic drugs precursor chemicals and paraphernalias, poppy seeds presented voluntarily by native poppy farmers will be destroyed.

Myanmar had to face the internal insurgency problem just after its regain her independence. Insurgency and poppy cultivation and opium production are so much inter-linked that it is not east to unravel them.

After Myanmar regained her independence, the State could destroy poppy fields during poppy cultivation season from 1974 to 1988. From 1974 to 1979, the total fields 199,762.87 acres could be destroyed by the Melon, Hnin Pan, Pauk Pan, Taung Hteik Pan and Hey Man Oo Operations, and Taung Yan Shin phrase (1) to (4) used aerial spraying from 1981 to 1988.

  
Press the button to set fire to the seized narcotic drugs,
poppy seeds and paraphernalia at the Sports Ground in Lashio on 7 June.

Owing to the evil legacy of the colonialists, the poor national races cultivated opium poppy and attempts made by successive governments to eliminate poppy cultivation, utilizing force had not gained much success. Now, special programmes with a view to obtain alternative income from agriculture and animal husbandry are provided to the poppy farmers and the government and as well as the local national leaders are in full support of these programmes.

Under the instruction and policy of the government, regional national groups had made district declaration against narcotic drugs; on the following dates (26-3-2002) Wa National Groups, on 28-3-2002) Kokang National Groups and on (4-4-2002) Special Region (3) Shan State (north).

The seizures of narcotic drugs within the region of Northern Shan State are Heroin (136.98) kilo, Raw Opium 857.18 kilo, Stimulants (1,066.83) kilo, Ephedrine (277.01), Chemical Liquid (87,200) litres, Chemical Powder (22,531) kilo, altogether 960 cases and (1,241 criminals.

In 2001, heroin 61.23 kilo, raw opium 1,068.03 kilo, stimulant 992,91 kilo, Ephedrine 717.5 kilo, Chemical Liquid 142,344 litres, Chemical Powder 16,345 kilo, altogether 955 cases and 1,224 criminal were seized. Up to May 31st 2002, heroin 65.92 kilo, raw opium 1,133.76 kilo, stimulants 80.99 kilo, methamphetamine 415.2 kilo, chemical liquid 21,265.932 litre, chemical powder 2,277.4 kilo, altogether 365 cases and 487 criminals were seized.

The cultivation and destruction of poppy within the region of Northern Shan State are in 1999-2000 (63,580) estimated acres were cultivated and (3,307) acres were destroyed, in 2000-2001 (85,580) estimated acres were cultivation and (21,319) acres were destroyed; in 2001-2002 (43,266) acres were cultivated and (17,928) acres were destroyed.


National races, social organizations and students joyfully
participate in the destruction ceremony of narcotic drugs,
poppy seeds and precursor chemicals in Lashio on 7 June.

The State has now arranged for the poppy cultivation not to cultivate poppy and urged them to cultivate substitute crops. In Kokang special region-1, Northern Shan State, at Laukkai District, where substitute crops have been cultivated, 500 sacks of rice for 2,479 families; 300 sacks of rice for 1,326 families in Kunlon District; altogether 800 sacks of rice have already been distributed. This year, before poppy cultivating season, poppy cultivators have been given education to cultivate substitute crops as well as seeds suitable to the region have already been distributed. Seeds have been distributed for cultivating 10 kinds of maize which are seasonal Crops of rainy season and winter, at the fields where the poppy were destroyed. The State has laid down to use the capital 42.5 million in Kyats to carry out the tasks of substitute crops cultivation.

In the region, the government make a plan to eliminate the Opium Cultivation and Production and to present and seize the seeds. In the region together with the members of the Northern Shan State Peace and Development Council, members of the Control Committee for Drug Abuse Control, members of the Tatmadaw and Myanmar Police Force, departmental staff, members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association, members of Fire Brigade, members of Red Cross, people's military and volunteers go to village tracts and give education the local populace to eliminate the opium poppy cultivation. They make them give away the poppy seeds and dried poppy capsules to the authority concerned.

Poppy cultivators had now presented poppy seeds to the authority concerned according to their will. Up to now 70,249.25 baskets of poppy seeds, weighing 114,717.03 kilos have been presented. Within those poppy seeds, 70,249 acres of land can be put under poppy cultivation and can yield 309 tons of raw opium and 31 tons of heroin can be produced. This occasion will be able to prevent before hand all these opium and heroin.

At this ceremony, I would like to submit the list of seeds, narcotic drugs, precursor chemicals and paraphernalia; and in Laukkai Township, we had arranged another ceremony to destroy poppy seed 7,824 baskets, 12,776.6 kilo and narcotic drugs and paraphernalia seized by special region-1 Kokang. Then, the Secretary-1 and party, guests, the ambassadors and the correspondents inspected opium seeds presented by farmers and seized narcotic drugs and chemicals for setting fire at the sports grounds.

Next, Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, Commander Brig-Gen Myint Hlaing, Minister Col Tin Hlaing, national race leaders, Japanese Ambassador Mr Shigeru Tsumori, Charge d' Affaires of the US Embassy Miss Priscilla A Clap, Charge d' Affaires of the Chinese Embassy Mr Tang Ying, UNDCP Resident Representative Mr Jean-luc Lemahieu pressed the buttons of the remote controls to set fire drugs and opium seeds.

Similarly, national race leaders of Special Region-1 Kokang Region, Special Region-1 Wa Region, Special Region-3 Shan Region, Special Region-5 Kachin Region, Special Region-7 Palaung Region, peace groups, national races of Kokang, Wa, Shan, Kachin and Palaung national races, USDA, MCWA, WCWA, WVO, Auxiliary Fire Brigade and Red Cross, nurses, traditional cultural troupes and students joyfully participated in the seized narcotic drugs destruction ceremony.


Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt views
documentary photos on endeavours on
narcotic drug elimination in Shan State (North).

Then, the Secretary-1 and party and guests inspected drugs, opium seeds and chemicals being destroyed. Afterwards, the Secretary-1 and party and the guests viewed the exhibition on documentary photos on endeavors of Shan State (North).

Today's seized narcotic drugs destruction ceremony, organized by CCDAC in Lashio, opium seeds weighing 101,940.43 kilos, 249 kilos of raw opium, 102 kilos of morphine powder, three kilos of morphine solid, 6,131.22 litres of ether, 3,673.18 litres of Acid Anhydride, 407.3 litres of chloroform, 7,988.22 litres of alcohol, 225 litres of Lysol, 15 litres of sulphuric acid, 15 litres of acid plus ether, 80 litres of ether plus Lysol, 69 litres of acid plus Lysol, 25 litres of hydrochloric acid, 20 litres of ether plus chloroform, 70 kilos of Phenyl Acetic Acid, 0.75 litre of acid plus opium liquid, 557 litres of opium plus Lysol, 50 litres of opium liquid, 545.52 litres of kerosene, 1,145.2 litres of chemical powder and 23 items of paraphernalia estimated worth US$ 120 were destroyed.