16th Destruction Ceremony of Seized Narcotic Drugs, Precursor Chemicals and Paraphernalia

Nearly 40,000 acres of opium poppy cultivated acreage or
38.63% reduced in three years

Cross-border cooperation between Myanmar and China enhances mutual trust and understanding leading to exchange of information and arrest of drug kingpins and traffickers

[ 26th June, 2002 ]


  

The 16th Destruction Ceremony of Seized Narcotic Drugs, Precursor Chemicals and Paraphernalia, organized by the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, was held in the compound of the Drug Elimination Museum at the corner of Hanthawady and Kundaw Roads in Kamayut Township at 8 am today, attended by Secre-tary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt.

     
Secretary of  CCDAC, Deputy Director-General of MPF Police
Brig-Gen Zaw Win reported on the purpose to hold the Destruction Ceremony.

Also present on the occasion were Chairman of Yangon Division Peace and Development Council Commander Maj-Gen Myint Swe, Chairman of CCDAC Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing, Vice-Chairmen Minister for Foreign Affairs U Win Aung and Minister for Progress of Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs Col Thein Nyunt, ministers, the Chief Justice, deputy ministers, departmental heads, ambassadors, charges d'affaires and military attaches of foreign missions, resident representatives and officials of the UN agencies, members of CCDAC and work groups, senior police officers of Myanmar Police Force, U Sein Win of Kyodo News Agency, Patron U Hla Htwe of Myanmar Foreign Correspondents Club, Vice-President U Aung Shwe Oo and members, correspondents of foreign news agencies and broadcasting departments, winners in the short story, article, poem, painting, cartoon and poster competitions to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and guests.

     
Present on the occasion were ambassadors, charges d'affaires and military attaches of foreign mission,
resident representatives and officials of the UN agencies.

Police Inspector Ohmma Yin Mie and Police Inspector Ma Pyone of CCDAC of Myanmar Police Force acted as masters of ceremonies and read out the agenda of the ceremony.

At the ceremony, on behalf of the Secretary of CCDAC, Deputy Director-General of MPF Police Brig-Gen Zaw Win reported on the purpose to hold the Destruction Ceremony. He said:

Today is a significant day as we once again destroy narcotic drugs, which is a frightful menace to mankind. You will have the opportunities to witness firsthand that the Myanmar government, totally aware of the scaring threat, is seriously undertaking and trying its utmost best to combat these deplorable drugs as a National Duty.

  
Heroin and Opium seen at the 16th destruction
ceremony of seized narcotic drug, precursor chemicals and paraphernalia.
 

  
Stimulant and methamphetamine seen at the 16th destruction
ceremony of seized narcotic drug, precursor chemicals and paraphernalia.

Today's destruction ceremony is much more meaningful and significant than the previous destructions of its kind. It differs in such a way that the past destructions were occasionally held in honour of international conferences held in Myanmar, visits of dignitaries or to hail commemorative days of the country. However, the significance defers because it is held on the 26th day of June, commemorating the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Since 1990 up to present, we have reached to the 16th ceremony of burning seized drugs, precursor chemicals and paraphernalia in Yangon. In addition to Yangon City, destruction ceremonies of this kind inclusive of poppy seedlings had been held for twenty six times in the border areas.

  
Marijuana seen at the 16th destruction
ceremony of seized narcotic drug, precursor chemicals and paraphernalia.
 

  
Packets of Caffein and Ephedrine seen at the 16th destruction
ceremony of seized narcotic drug, precursor chemicals and paraphernalia.

Starting three or four years back, Myanmar's anti-drugs campaign has been increasingly gaining momentum and achieving significant successes. The Baseline Surveys on poppy cultivation and consumption clearly stands testimony to this trend. According to surveys between 1998-1999 and the year 2001-2002, opium poppy cultivated area declined to 39,426 (thirty-nine thousand four hundred and twenty six) acres, which is a reduction of 38.63%.

Moreover, annual eradication programmes were able to destroy 14,876 (fourteen thousand eight hundred and seventy six) acres between 1997-1998 and 2001-2002, an increase of 151.4 per cent. Moreover, UNDCP and INCB Annual Reports also supported the trend and reported that production has decreased 40 per cent in the past 10 years. The declining figures clearly shows the results of the Myanmar government's unyielding efforts.

  

Preventive education talks are carried out to stop poppy cultivation altogether in the coming 2002-2003 season. As a result of these measures, poppy farmers voluntarily submitted to the authorities seventy eight thousand eight hundred and thirty six (78,836) baskets, in other words, one twenty eight thousand seven hundred and thirty nine point five kilograms (128,739.5) of poppy seeds. You will be aware that these poppy seeds were burned and destroyed in front of the public in Lashio, Laukkai, Pinlaung, Kengtung and Loikaw. The burning of these poppy seeds have been able to prevent seventy eight thousand eight hundred and thirty six point one nine (78,836.19) acres from cultivation and the production of thirty four point six nine (34.69) tons of heroin.

Commencing 2002-2003, four Deputy Ministers are assigned to supervise, coordinate with local authorities to halt poppy cultivation, have toured poppy cultivation regions of Shan and Kayah States and are executing action plans. Moreover, area of cultivation has been divided into six regions and teams are formed consisting CCDAC members, personnel from Ministry of Progress of Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs and Myanmar Police Force to supervise, monitor, give preventive educational talks, evaluate and report back to the CCDAC. For the distribution of alternative crop seeds to farmers CCADC has provided five hundred and twenty five thousand kyats to support the programme.

     
Views bottles of cough syrup with drug potency being destroyed by rollers at the 16th destruction
ceremony of seized narcotic drugs, precursor chemicals and paraphernalia.

While Myanmar has limited success in the reduction of opium production, the problem of amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) has become a new threat. Starting 1997, opium and heroin seizures declined annually in Myanmar. This trend is also witnessed in China and Thailand. However, stimulant seizures increased alarmingly from 5.9 million tablets in 1996 to 32.4 million tablets in 2001. This year, 1.8 million tablets have been seized up to May.

Regarding precursor chemicals, nearly ninety thousand litres were seized in 2000. Over eighteen hundred thousand litres in 2001 and over twenty thousand litres were seized up to May this year. Ephedrine, Caffeine and other precursor chemicals essential in manufacturing ATS are not produced in Myanmar but trafficked illegally from neighbouring countries like China, Yodaya and India. We are aware neighbouring countries are also placing stringent controls over chemicals to prevent diversion to illicit channels. However, in spite of these measures, traffickers are still finding ways and means to traffic chemicals to Myanmar. We wish to stress here that it is of vital importance to place effective control mechanisms on precursor chemical production and trade.

  
The guests test the seized narcotic drugs before the destruction.

Regarding precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of narcotic drugs, the Ministry of Health on 5th June 2002 issued Notification 1/2002. According to this Notification, 14 chemicals from Table 1 and 9 chemicals from Table 2 of UN Convention as well as 2 additional chemicals specific to Myanmar are now under control, amounting to 25 chemicals controlled in the Union of Myanmar.

Moreover, to enable financial and assets investigation to take effective action against financiers behind the lucrative drug business, the "Control of Money Laundering Law" has been enacted by the State Peace and Development Council on 17th June, 2002.

     
The guests test the seized narcotic drugs before the destruction.

The objectives of the law are to control and take effective action on illicit proceeds of crime, to prevent influence on the executive, economic and social sectors of the State, to be in conformity with the international conventions, and to better international cooperation.

Another significant development is the increase in cross border cooperation between Myanmar and China, culminating in the establishment of Border Liaison Offices at Loije and Chinshwehaw very recently.

  
CCDAC Chairman Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing, Ambassador of Australia
Mr Trevor David Wilson and Charge d'Affairs of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China
Mr Tang Ying of the US Embassy Ms Priscilla A Clapp press the button to incinerate the drugs.

This cross border cooperation has enhanced mutual trust and understanding and subsequently facilitated smooth exchange of information resulting in the success of apprehending drug kingpins and traffickers active along the common border. Altogether there have been 6 cases during 2001 and this year where drug traffickers, wanted in China and hiding in Myanmar are investigated, arrested and handed over back to China. It included 2 cases where the Wa authorities handed over 13 drug traffickers. Only in one case, relevant document and information were provided while the culprits was charged and prosecuted in Myanmar. These cases clearly show Myanmar's sincere spirit of cooperation with the international community in the fight against drugs.

Another success story in international law enforcement cooperation was the Fiji drug case where 357 kilos of heroin was seized. With information received from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), 5 traffickers were arrested and all their assets confiscated.

  
Dean of the Diplomatic Crops Lao PDR Ambassador Mr Ly Bounkham and Charge d'Affairs ai of the US Embassy Ms Priscilla A Clapp press the button to incinerate the drugs.

Moreover, successful international cooperation resulted in the arrest of a drug kingpin, trafficking 116 kilos and 7 million tablets of ATS, which were seized in the Andaman Sea. Similarly, seizure of 126 pounds of heroin at New York port led to the successful investigation and arrest of traffickers followed by confiscation of their assets.

As regards law enforcement, Myanmar has been undertaking serious actions domestically as well as in close cooperation with neighbour countries, conducting cross border meetings alternately for exchanging information and actions to be taken against illicit trafficking of drugs.

  
Secretary-1 and party, the diplomats, the resident representatives of
UN agencies and officials inspected the documentary photos.
  

I wish to take this opportunity to strongly stress to the international community that Myanmar, in the fight against drugs has not received any international assistance whatsoever, but relying mostly on our own resources and efforts with guidance of the leaders of the government on strategy and tactics.

In conclusion, I would like to present the list of drugs, which are going to be destroyed today:

     Opium 3,027 kilos;
     Heroin 240 kilos;
     Marijuana 434.253 kilos;
     ATS tablets 34,946,966 Nos;
     Ephedrine tablets 4,050,947 Nos;
     Ephedrine powder 2,865.705 kilos;

May I also invited all of you to come down and check the drugs for yourself the authenticity of the drugs before setting them on fire.

Then, bottles of cough syrup with drug potency were destroyed by rollers.

Afterwards, the ambassadors, the charges d'affaire, the military attaches, the resident representatives of UN agencies, officials and guests tested the narcotic drugs to be burnt.

Next, CCDAC Chairman Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing, Ambassador of Australia Mr Trevor David Wilson, Charge d'Affaires of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China Mr Tang Ying, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Lao PDR Ambassador Mr Ly Bounkham and Charge d'Affaires ai of the US Embassy Ms Priscilla A Clapp pressed buttons to incinerate the narcotic drugs.

     

Then, the Secretary-1 and party, the diplomats, the resident representatives of UN agencies and officials inspected the documentary photos on implementation of the New Destiny Project, destruction ceremonies of poppy seeds handed over by local farmers in Shan State, cultivation of opium substitution crops in Wa region and handing over of culprits who related to drug cases from Myanmar to China.

Later, the Secretary-1 cordially met the Ambassadors, the Charges d'Affaire, Military Attaches and guests.