Drugs suppression efforts of special region

Drugs suppression efforts of

special region (4) in eastern Shan State


(1) Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt addressing the opening ceremony of a museum

commemorating the declaration of drug free zone in Mongla on 22 April



museum commemorating the declaration of drug free zone in Mongla,

Special Region (4), Eastern Shan State.

The Burma Communist Party Military Region

(8-15) and Brigade (768) under the command of U Saing Lu split from the Burma

Communist Party in April 1989 and made peace with the Government. It was based

in Silu and Mongla in east Myanmar ear the Myanmar China border, which is widely

known as “The Golden Triangle” for its poppy cultivation. The

government designated that area as Special Region (4) and rendered assistance

and support for the development of the area and the elimination of poppy

cultivation. Since its peace with the government, the Special Region had

undertaken the development of the region at the same time when planned

eradication of poppy cultivation was being carried out. As a result, Special

Region (4) was able to decisively implement the plan for the eradication of

narcotic drugs. Mongla region, where there were previously 262 villages

cultivating opium on 2716 acres which yielded annually 8968 kilos of raw opium,

was declared to the world as “Opium Free Zone” at the inauguration

ceremony for a museum commemorating anti-drug activities.

The Special Region (4) had embarked on a 6-year plan for the eradication of

narcotics since 1992 with the assistance of the government and the UNDCP.

The Plan was composed of 3 two-year phases. First 2-year phase focused on

elimination of poppy cultivation in Monghe and Mongkhan with the second 2-year

phase concentrating on Monghe and Kyinkhan and the Third 2-year phase on Mongla,

Mongma, Silu, Mongkwe and Sangtauk with the objective of eradicating narcotic

drugs in the entire region and of preventing a relapse. Under the plan,

substitute crops were introduced to poppy growing areas with the government

providing necessary assistance to the local populace to help them meet the basic

needs before the substitute crops generated income.

In addition, establishment of income generating

enterprises for the local population and creation of other suitable business opportunities to generate

income for Eastern Shan State Special Region (4) forces were also included in the plan to put an

end to trafficking in narcotic drugs in the region.

In the initial stages after peace had been achieved, Special Region (4) carried out the

anti-narcotics activities under the leadership of the government. On 22 March 1994, Chairman of

Eastern Shan State Special Region (4) U Saing Lin and leading members, responsible personnel

from the Defense Services and Government departments and local population totaling 700

destroyed 45 acres of poppy fields and poppy seeds near Wanphyat village. Again on 5 May of

the same year 1 opium refinery, 60 kilos of heroin, 30 kilos of yellow heroin, 50 kilos of morphine, 30

viss of raw opium, chemicals, and paraphernalia were destroyed in Mongla under the supervision of state leaders and witnessed by personnel from International Organizations, United Nations Agencies and Embassies. The market value of the drugs destroyed was US $ 150 million.

On 3 July 1995, Eastern Shan State Special Region (4) issued a declaration prohibiting production and use of narcotic drugs in the region and use of the region as transit. The declaration also stated that drastic action would be taken against infringement of the prohibitions. Under the drugs suppression plan, 8515 grams of heroin, 950 grams of raw opium, proceeds from sale of narcotic drugs to the tune of Kyats 13.6 million and Kyats 20.0 million worth of properties from the defendants were seized in 1995, 1433 grams of heroin 1000 grams of raw opium and proceeds from sale of narcotic drug amounting

to Kyats 2.6 million were seized in 1996 and 4451 grams of heroin, 5275 grams of raw opium

5000 grams of opium seeds were seized in 1997.

On 14 January 1996, advisor from UNDCP Mr. Makhone, Mr. Hawk, departmental authorities of Mongyang Township

and a combined team of 40 members from Division 3654 of Eastern Shan State Special

Region (4), led by U San Aung, destroyed 1 acre of poppy fields near Wankyone (approximate LK

7037) and Yangkhan (approximate LK 7041). The consolidated Security Unit of the Special

Region (4) arrested drug traffickers during its drug suppression activities along the border.

The Special Region (4) laid emphasis on agriculture as alternative to opium poppy

cultivation and accordingly irrigation canals and dams were constructed. Development of virgin

land, distribution of quality seeds, encouragement of use of fertilizer and pesticides, provision of

agricultural training were also carried out for the development of agriculture. 1600 acres of sugarcane, 500 acres of watermelon, 400 acres of rubber in Mongla, over 170 acres under cardamom plants, 280 acres under rubber and tea plantations in Nanpang and 100 acres under tea and 1700 acres under castor and beans and groundnut were grown in Silu.

On 28 October 1997, Chairman U Saing Lin and the Secretary U Kyi Myint of the Special Region (4) met with responsible persons from the frontier unit of the People’s Republic of China and discussed the destruction of poppy, checking at border crossing and joint suppression of narcotic drugs. At 1205 hrs on 26 November 1997, 2 sections led by Second Lieutenant Khin Zaw Myo from Military Column 2, Company 3 of Infantry Regiment 328, and 5 members team led by major-level U Lon, Head of Division of the Judicial Department of the Special Region (4), destroyed half acre of poppy fields in Pangyang (approximately

P.940831). It is the objective of the region to go beyond the status of “Opium Free Zone” and to be

totally free of trafficking and use of opium, heroin and stimulants. In 1998, the drugs suppression unit

of the region established checkpoints at points of entry and exit and carried out searching and

inspection works. Acting on a tip-off,80,000 stimulant tablets were seized and traffickers were

arrested in Mongla on 18 September 1998.

Under the arrangement of the Ministry for Progress of Border Areas and National Races

and Development Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, buckwheat is being

grown as substitute crop in Laukkai, Kongkyan, Mongko, Kunlon, Hopan, Namkham, Lashio,

Tangyang. Cultivation of buckwheat as substitute crop in Kokang, Shan State commenced in 1996 in

cooperation with Japan. The successful harvest of buckwheat in that area on 30 November 1998

was observed by none other than by Secretary (1) of the State Peace and Development Council,

together with Ministers and guests. Previously, Kokang nationals, organized and exploited by the

Burma Communist for almost 20 years from 1968 to 1988, had adopted opium cultivation

as a livelihood. Now they have shifted, with the support and assistance of the Government, to

cultivation of annual and perennial crops. They have been growing rubber, sugarcane, buckwheat

and other crops in place of poppy. The development of present-day Laukkai as compared

to its previous condition is a sign of the successful and effective implementation of the development

of border areas and national races.

Mongla – The Drug Free Zone

Among the border areas where poppy is grown, Mongla is the only area proclaimed as “a totally drugs free zone”. It 1S located 46 miles east of Kengtung and was a huge village 10 years ago under the rule of the Burma Communist Party. The Government has designated it as “Special Region (4)” since 1991 and since then has undertaken development of the border areas and national races in the region with added momentum Hospital, clinics, schools, road and bridges, irrigation canals and dams hydro-electric power plants, post offices telephone exchanges, telegraphic

office, television relay stations, agricultural office and agricultural stations have

been established in the region. Since 1992 it has embarked on a 6-year plan for

the eradication of narcotic drugs in its area with the assistance of the government and

the UNDCP. At present, Mongla has developed to a city level, standing in splendor

with huge hotels, modern business centers religious edifices, pagodas and


¬†Proclamation of Special Region (4) a “Opium Free Zone” and establishment in Mongla of a museum commemorating that campaign against drug abuse were th3 success stories of Mongla. The government and local national races leaders joined hands to eradicate narcotic drugs

while undertaking efforts to develop the region and the social economic conditions of

the national races. These efforts consists of 3 phases. The first phase was for Nanpan while the second phase was in

Mongla and Mongla and the third phase in Silu respectively.