Opium worth US$ 3.89 billion calculated with New York street value destroyed
Poppy seeds, seized narcotic drugs, precursor chemicals, paraphernalia torched in Laukkai, Kokang region
[ 8 June,2002 ]


The Destruction Ceremony of poppy seeds presented by farmers, seized narcotic drugs, precursor chemicals and paraphernalia, organized by the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, was held at the Drug Elimination Museum in Laukkai, Kokang region, Special Region-1, Shan State (North), yesterday morning, with an address by Chairman of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing.

Also present on the occasion were Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation Brig-Gen Khin Maung, Deputy Minister for Livestock and Fisheries U Aung Thein, Col Than Win of Laukkai Station, the representative of UNDCP, departmental heads, the Japanese Ambassador, Charges d' Affaires ai of the US embassy and the Chinese embassy, CCDAC Joint Secretary Police Col Kham Aung and members, members of work groups, national race leader U Phon Kyar Shin of Shan State (North) Special Region-1 and officials, Deputy Head of the Drugs Control Department Mr Chaung Shi Myin and party of Yunnan Province of the People's Republic of China, officers of Myanmar Police Force, Director (News) U Hla Tun of News and Periodicals Enterprise and information officials, Secretary of Myanmar Foreign Correspondents Club U Nyunt Tin and members, correspondents of foreign news agencies, officials of Border Area Development Association, the flag-bearing troupe, the pom-pom dance troupe, the band troupe, the traditional Ozi troupe and guests.

     
Poppy Capsules, Stimulant Raw Opium and Opium Seeds.

Daw Nang Khin Phone Myint and Ma Pyone Myint Han of Laukkai Basic Education High School No 2 acted as masters of ceremonies.

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

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 prolonged and opened opportunities to external interventions so much so that it has developed from the production of ordinary opium into highly concentrated heroin products.

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

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. After 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.

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.

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, 1997 stands testimony to this successful cooperation.

Acknowledging the Government's sincere efforts, 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 strengthening solidarity and unity among the ethnic brethren.

  
Myanmar Border Area Development Association Chairman U Tin Hlaing presented
487 dozens of exercise books and 100 dozens of pencil worth K 499,650 and
medicine worth K 562,350 to Kokang region to national race leader U Phon Kyar Shin.

The signs of success effected 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. 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.

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, the control of opium seeds and taking legal actions. The opium farmers are asked to grow 7 kinds of alternative crops instead of opium in 21,969 acres of land as a preventive measure. Substitute seeds are also distributed in time for cultivation to prevent them from falling back to poppy cultivation.

While educating the farmers to grow substitute crops instead of poppy, substitute crop seeds that are suitable for the areas and climate are distributed for cultivation on the other hand, On realizing the sincere intentions of 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, 95,659.507 kilos of poppy seeds and 76,230.073 kilos of dried poppy bulb in the Northern Shan State, 2,242.109 kilos of poppy seeds in the Southern Shan State, 92.60 kilos of poppy seeds and 0.40825 kilos of dried poppy bulb in the Eastern Shan State, 8.165 kilos of poppy seeds in the Kayah State and 3,287.229 kilos of poppy seeds in Mandalay Division, making a total of 101,289.07 kilos of poppy seeds and 76,230.481 kilos of dried poppy bulb totaling 120,346.6898 kilos of opium seeds and opium bulbs 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.

Estimated with the yield rate of 4.4 kilo per acre, the output would be 324.2 tons of opium or 32.42 tons of heroin worth 3.89 billion US$ calculated with the New York street value of 120,000 US$ per kilo of heroin.

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 with neighbouring countries as well as countries in the sub-region and region.

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 combating 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.

  
Kokang region national race leader U Phon Kyar Shin explains endeavours for
establishment of opium free zone in Kokang region by the year 2003.

Then, Kokang national race leader U Phon Kyar Shin explained endeavours of their region to eradicate opium cultivation. He said:

First, on behalf of the Administrative Committee of Special Region No 1 and regional people of Kokang region. May I extend warm welcome to all of you, the State leaders and personnel from international organizations.

By studying the history of narcotic drugs in Kokang region, we can find that narcotic drugs have been in existence for over 100 years till up to now. The tasks of narcotic elimination can abolish the menace of narcotic drugs to human society. This duty has now dwelt upon our shoulders. When we look back at the past ten years, we were looked down on because of the reflection of narcotic drugs. This's why we live in humble with patience. We had to pay a great amount because of this narcotic drugs.

At these recent years, under the guidance and goodwill of the State government, members of our associations took active role in carrying out the tasks of drugs eradication. So the task of drugs eradication has now become wider and changed its appearance as in its outer and inner parts. We can predict that like this occasion of destroying narcotic drugs can never be occurred in the coming years. Poppy cultivation in Kokang region can also be ceased. We have laid down plan for eradication of poppy cultivation in this special region. We have assured that there will be no more poppy cultivation in this region by the year 2003. This promise can be implemented in this Kokang special region.

By looking back at past experience of carrying out the drug eradication tasks we had encountered difficulties, had to repay a great amount and had been tested with various experiments. This drugs problem is the legacy of the history and make people to keep out danger of narcotic drugs has become our unavoidable duty. After taking peace with the State government, Administrative Committee of Special Region-1 has been formed since 1989 in this Kokang region and has been implementing the drug elimination tasks with added momentum. This activity has never stopped during the past 10 years. However this problem has been deeply rooted in this region that the progress of carrying out the drug eradication tasks never reached as we hoped to do so. It is not possible to solve the difficult problem at once. Drug problem in Kokang cannot be solved in a short time according to the natural law.

In the past drug elimination tasks have been carried out continuously. However, our efforts could not get true realizations. The only things we obtained are that  being looked down upon us, being blamed and rumours about us. That is why we felt very sorry about that.

Hence, all people must be active and participating the activities of drug eradication and facing all difficulties, opium cultivation is to be eradicated completely with added momentum. On 2 March, 2002, a decision was made for total eradication of opium cultivation in 2002. It is much earlier than the previously target of 2005 for total eradication. After this decision was made, as the task is being carried out continuously, the materials shown at today's ceremony are those which are seized in the present activities. It is the evidence of out activities of drug eradication. Establishing the special region-1 as the opium free zone beginning 2003 is the only goal of the people in special region-1 and group members.

It is a problem connected with the food, clothing and shelter in the special region. To solve this problem providing assistance from every factors is needed. I would like to request the organizations and observers for drug abuse control with the goodwill to have right understanding on us and to give practical assistance more.

It is to realize that narcotic drug eradication is the problem of all the people in the world, not only of a region and a country. Hence, I think it will be easier to solve the burden of food, clothing and shelter of the people in Kokang after the activities of narcotic drug abuse control and the total eradication of opium.

As conclusion, including opium cultivation, total eradication of narcotic drugs is our main goal. I would like to state that from 2003, setting up and performing Kokang as a narcotic drugs free zone is our great effort and great goal.

  
Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation Brig-Gen Khin Maung explained
matters related to endeavours on development of border areas and opium substitute cultivation.

Next, Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation Brig-Gen Khin Maung explained matters related to endeavours on development of border areas and opium substitute cultivation. He said: The first step being as you all know, is the regional development task in agriculture, livestock breeding, health, education, construction of roads and bridges, power supply, etc. carried out by the Ministry of Progress of Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs. If we look back at the situation of Kokang region, until 1989, main roads were just ordinary ones and unlike now, regions like "Chin Shwe Haw", "Par Sin Kyaw" and "Lauk Kai", were without buildings, electricity, school, hospitals and dispensaries.

In the agricultural sector you will also notice the presence of rubber, sugarcane, vegetable and maize plantations, high-yielding paddy, hybrids, in addition to dams like Shiphan; "Larlee", "Sitone Shwe" and "Man Khar" and the development of irrigation systems.

  
CCDAC Chairman Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing, Kokang region national race leader
U Phon Kyar Shin and Deputy Head of Narcotic Drugs Elimination Department Mr Chong Sheng Meng of
Yunnan Province and party inspect opium bulbs and narcotic drugs.

In fact for the speedy development of agriculture and livestock breeding in Kokang and Kachin regions, a group of four deputy ministers, have been especially assigned by the Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council in October 2001 during his tour of Kokang.

In Kokang area, 941 acres of land prepared for poppy cultivation could be substituted with wheat, beans and pulses in last October and November, 462 acres were grown with mangoes, orange, lychee, longons, grapes plantation etc. For that, for which the Government has spent 48.9 million kyats. Plans are also under way to distribute 20,000 trees of other kinds of fruits like walnuts, during this year in "Tar Shwe Htan" village.

  
CCDAC Chairman Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing and Deputy Head of Drugs Control Department
Mr Chong Sheng Meng of Yunnan Province torch seized drugs, chemicals and paraphernalia.

The leader of Kokang special region-1, has also set up a livestock breeding farm on 150 acres as opium substitute undertaken near "Yan Lon Kyaing" village and has arranged to build a dam at a cost of 8.5 million kyats close to it. Likewise in Kachin State, 325 acres of farmland and 300 acres of orchard could be developed, and "Nant San Yan" weir to irrigate 5,000 acres that had been built at a cost of 77.2 million kyats by government.

The second step being 52.5 million kyats assisted by CCDAC, for the cultivation of opium substitute crops, in time for the years 2002-2003 monsoon cultivation season on 13,528 acres.

In other words, edible crops will be produced from the land prepared for poppy crops. For Laukkai region, paddy, maize, wheat, buckwheat, beans and pulses seeds for 3,064 acres have been distributed and assisted by Kokang national race leader U Phon Kyar Shin and Kokang Organization.

     
The pressed the buttons of the remote controls to set fire to drugs, precursor chemicals, paraphernalia and opium seeds.

As such assistance rendered by the agricultural sector for the development of border areas and cultivation of opium substitute crops is meeting with success. Based on this, we would carry on with our assistance, for the regional and socio-economic developments of our national brethren and eradication of cultivation and production of opium crops.

Afterwards, Myanmar Border Area Development Association Chairman U Tin Hlaing presented 487 dozens of exercise books and 100 dozens of pencil worth K 499,650 and medicine worth K 562,350 to Kokang region to national race leader U Phon Kyar Shin.

 
Precursor chemicals and liquid at the narcotic drugs destruction ceremony in Laukkai.

Then, Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing and members and the guests inspected opium seeds presented by farmers and narcotic drugs and paraphernalia seized in Laukkai region.

Next, Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing, Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation Brig-Gen Khin Maung, Shan State (North) Special Region-1 national race leader U Phon Kyar Shin and officials, Deputy Head Mr Chong Sheng Meng of Drugs Elimination Department of Yunnan Province and party took designated places and pressed the buttons of the remote controls to set fire to drugs, precursor chemicals, paraphernalia and opium seeds. Afterwards, CCDAC Chairman Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing and party and the guests visited the Drug Elimination Museum in Laukkai, Kokang Region. Next, national races, members of Red Cross and USDA and students destroyed precursor chemicals.

     
Members of MPF, Red Cross, USDA, Kokang national races and students destroy
precursor chemicals and liquid at the narcotic drugs destruction ceremony in Laukkai.

Today's seized narcotic drugs destruction ceremony on 8 June, organized by CCDAC in Laukkai, 12,776.6 kilos of opium seeds, stimulant tablets weighing 2.72 kilos, amphetamine tablets solid weighing 119.41 kilos, amphetamine powder weighing 23.1 kilos, 1.209 kilos of caffeine, 0.055 kilo of heroin, 50 kilos of opium sediment, tablets containing Ephedrine weighing 10.8 kilos, 0.5 kilo of Ice, 136.38 litres of opium liquid, 34.1 litres of opium liquid plus Lysol, 568.25 litres of acid anhydride, 11.36 kilos of hydrochloric acid, 1,591.1 litres of Lysol, 1,545.68 litres of alcohol, 529 litres of hydrochloric acid, 68.19 litres of ether, 320 litres of tinder, 1,704.75 litres of water plus Lysol, 9,184.5 kilos of chemical powder and 23 paraphernalia were destroyed.

     
Opium substitute mango, lychee and longan trees thriving in Namtip Township, Wa Special Region.

After the ceremony, Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing, the deputy ministers, the diplomats and journalists viewed thriving of 450,000 lychee and longan trees, 10,000 mango trees and 550,000 rubber trees in Namtip Township of Shan State (North) Wa Special Region-1.