The press Conference on eradication of narcotic drugs in Myanmar

The press

Conference on eradication of narcotic drugs in Myanmar


( 6th

August, 1999 )

YANGON, 6 Aug-The Press Conference on eradication of narcotic drugs in

Myanmar was held at Aungthabyay Ye Yeiktha on Kyaikwaing Pagoda Road this morning.


Present on the occasion were Deputy Minister for Information Brig-Gen Aung Thein,

Deputy Chief of the Office of Strategic Studies Deputy Director of Defence Services

Intelligence Brig-Gen Kyaw Win, Secretary of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control

Director-General of Myanmar Police Force and members, members of the Work Committee, Head

of Department of the Office of Strategic Studies Col Thein Swe and officials, Managing

Director of News and Periodicals Enterprise, Director (News), Adviser, Chief Editor of the

Guardian and Adviser to the Minister for Information, Chief Editor of Myanmar News Agency

(Internal), Patron of Myanmar Foreign Correspondents Club Chairman and member foreign

correspondents, Chief Editor Ms D Evmoon of DMJ Press, and officials of MPF, the Ministry

for Progress of Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs and Myanmar

Anti-Narcotic Drugs Association.


In his address, Brig-Gen Kyaw Win said it was a special Press Conference organized

to clarify matters relating to eradication of narcotic drugs. He noted that the State

Peace and Development Council laid down systematic plans to eradicate narcotic drugs with

the supervision of the CCDAC.


In implementing plans to fight the drug menace as a national duty, success is being

achieved as a result of collaborated efforts being made with international as well as

regional organizations, he said and added that some foreign news agencies are spreading

fabricated reports, unscrupulously quoting their departments and persons, which had caused

misunderstanding about Myanmar.


He said officials would clarify matters relating to the eradication of narcotic

drugs, Myanmar’s policies, projects and tasks, and nationalities groups’ activities to

rebut the accusations of foreign news agencies.


In his clarification, Col Thein Swe said that in July, Bangkok Post, The Nation and

Thai Rat newspapers, and a weekly journal published in Thailand carried groundless reports

written in a way as if they were said by Thai officials, and that these reports stated

that Myanmar government allowed the nationalities armed groups to be engaged in drug

trafficking, that Myanmar government troops were directly related with smuggling of drugs

out of the country and sponsored carrying of drugs from within the country to the border,

and that cooperation could not be made with Myanmar in elimination of drugs.

            These groundless

reports, he said, might cause misunderstanding on Myanmar government’s efforts for

eradication of drugs.

            He said Myanmar could

not manufacture the chemicals and machines to make the latest popular amphetamine tablets,

nor did it allow abuse and smuggling of these drugs within the country; the abuse of the

tablets had increased in the neighboring country, and as Myanmar realized that it was so

dangerous, it kept a watchful eye; by the end of 1996, ephedrine, the major raw material

in making the amphetamine was exposed and seized.

            After the Tatmadaw had

taken up State responsibilities in 1988, the task for elimination of drugs had been

carried out as a national duty; in 1989, the CCDAC was reorganized and laid down two

objectives to eradicate narcotic drugs and three strategies to implement the two


            Today, Myanmar is

implementing the 15-year project for total elimination of narcotic drugs starting from

1999-2000 to 2013-2014; in the first five-year term of the project covers 15 townships

including Monkoe, Kongyan, Laukai, Kunlon, Hopang, Mongrei, Tangyang, Namtu, Mongtong,

Hsenwi, Kutkai, Namkham, Muse and Kyukok in northern Shan State, Mongla region in eastern

Shan State, Kunhein, Mongpang, Linkhae, Hsehsai, Pekon and Mongkai in southern Shan State,

totaling in 22 townships.

            He also spoke of the

townships covered by the second and third five-year terms of the project; in carrying out

these tasks, priority would be given to elimination of poppy cultivation, eradication of

drug abuse, law enforcement, organizing local people to join hands in the tasks,

development of socioeconomic conditions in those regions, implementation of regional

development projects in agriculture, livestock, road and bridge construction,

communications, energy, trade, health, rehabilitation, education, and control of drugs.


During the 15-year term, a total of over US$ 5.6 billion will be spent on road and bridge

construction, agriculture, livestock, education, communications, energy, health, trade and

rehabilitation sectors; the project term can be reduced if there is adequate supply of

international and external assistance in technology and modern equipment.  

From 1974 to 1988, the US provided

over US 86 million; since 1988, the US has cut its assistance for eradication of narcotic

drugs in Myanmar, and the Tatmadaw strove as much as it could whether it got foreign

assistance or not.


From 1974 to 1988, 705 kilos of heroin, 33,120 kilos of opium, 5551 gallons of

acids and various chemicals were seized and 15 opium refinery were destroyed: as there

were no cases of amphetamine during that period: from 1988 to July 1999, 4.338 kilos of

heroin, 29316 kilos of opium, 114459 gallons of acids and chemicals, 40667707 amphetamine

tablets and 10,702 kilos of ephedrine were seized and 117 opium refinery could be


            He also spoke of the 17

nationalities armed group’s returning to the legal fold, formation of the Central

Committee for Development of Border Areas and National Races and the Ministry for Progress

of Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs, promulgation of the Law, for

Development of Border Areas and National Races, and utilization of over K15.18 billion for

educational, health, agriculturelivestock and transport development of the border areas.

            He dealt with

cooperation with NGOs, UN agencies neighbours, signing of accords on control and

elimination of narcotic drug trafficking and abuse, cooperation with China, Laos,

Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia in the Sub-Regional Action- Plan drawn up by the UNDCP

after signing of the MoU in 1995,– cooperation with ASEAN members, cooperation with the

US in the opium yield survey projects, sending of delegations to the UN meetings and

ceremonies, hosting of seminars, workshops and meetings in Myanmar and other international

cooperation, activities the 10-year project for elimination of poppy cultivation in

Myanmar adopted by Mr John Leake of UNDCP and party and Myanmar experts, the visit made by

UNDCP Executive Director Mr Pino Arlacchi arid party and their tour of Lashio, Laukkai,

Namtit, Kengtung and Hotaung regions, their provisions of US$ 33,900 for cultivation of

poppy substitute crops in Kokang region, US$ 226,000 for reclamation of land, cultivation

of poppy substitute crops and digging of irrigation canals in Namtit of Wa region, the

suggestion endorsed by Mr Arlacchi to start implementation of the five-year Hotaung

project in June 1998.   

            Senior General Than

Shwe paid a goodwill visit to Thailand on 8 and 9 March this year and issued a joint

communiqué; in the communiqué, the authorities expressed satisfaction at the good

prospects and cooperation in cooperation of the two countries in the narcotic control and

suppression, and agreement on accelerating efforts in cooperation for total elimination of

narcotic drug production and trafficking; the two sides agreed to taking effective actions

to suppress production of chemicals and drugs as the first priority; a delegation from

Thai narcotic drug control department arrived Myanmar on 24 May 1999 and held coordination

meetings with the CCDAC officials and toured Mongla of Wa region to study the tasks for

opium substitute crop production, livestock and regional development project, and areas

for accelerating co operation between the two countries; a Myanmar-Thai-land-UNDCP meeting

scheduled to be held in Ranong of Thailand 16-17 August to accelerate cooperation between

the two countries.


The papers published in Thailand printed the fabricated news despite the cooperation and

efforts being made with international organizations and neighbours like Thailand, he said.

            Though the

nationalities groups were engaged in drug trafficking in the past, they are now working

together with the government for eradication of narcotic drugs as a national task. He

clarified with facts and figures on the nationalities groups’ poppy cultivation acreage,

destruction of their poppy plantations after they had made peace, the Special Region 4’s

issuing of provisions for effective actions to be taken against those engaged in

production,. abuse and trafficking of drugs, seizures of drugs, cultivation of poppy

substitute crops, designation  of Opium Free Zone on 27 April in 1997 and destruction

of various sorts of the  seized narcotic drugs.


In Mongkoe on 8 February 1991, 75 kilos of heroin, 75 kilos of raw opium and four

packets of brown opium were destroyed. At Nyopyinsipa village in Kokang region in February

1992, over 1500 acres of poppy fields were destroyed At Shaukluchan village on 21 March

1992, an opium refinery, 7.25 kilos of heroin, 8.91 kilos of opium, 1.16 kilos of opium

residue and chemical equipment were seized. Natlinpa village in Kokang region in August

1992, an opium refinery, 18.55 kilos of heroin, 20.50 kilos of heroin grade 3,17.33 kilos

of brown opium and 18.22 kilos of opium residue were seized. Narcotics seized at the

refineries were handed over to the State. At Lawtthu and Aungnanphyin villages near

Hemolon village in Muse Township, two opium refineries were destroyed. In Mongkoe in 26

March, 10.5 kilos of heroin and a large quantity of chemical liquid were destroyed. In

Kokang region in August 1994, actions concerning narcotics were designated and the

Phonchwehsan region in Kokang on 16 March, over 2000 acres of poppy fields were destroyed.


A meeting was held at Siaw village on 11 to 13 June 1997 to wipe out poppy

cultivation in Kokang region and to grow substitute crops. Arrangement have been made to

take severe actions against poppy cultivation at China-Myanmar border and to wipe out

poppy cultivation by the year 2000. Opium substitute crops will be grown in the area and

local officials will meet harsh action for failure to inform or if there are any narcotics

seizures. Laws will be enacted to launch narcotic eradication campaign as the national



Arrangements are in progress to declare the entire Mongkoe region as an opium free

zone in 2000. In 1996,372 acres of poppy fields were destroyed in the region. A total of

1250 acres were put under substitute crops- 700 acres in Mongkoe, 235 acres in Mongya, 215

acres in Monghaung, 50 acres in Nantbura. Com was cultivated on 3.28 acres, soy bean 3994

acres, buckwheat 764 acres, sugarcane 3864, Iychee 70 acres, mustard 50 acres, totalling

over 8900 acres. In Laukkai, over 10,000 acres


In were put under substitute crops – rubber 1000 acres, sugarcane 4389 acres, corn

l 3496 acres, soy bean 390 acres, mustard 463 acres, buckwheat 1110 acres and lichee 73

acres. The Special Region 1 is building museum commemorating the eradication of drugs from

1998 to 1999 at a cost of K 18 million. On the ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of

peace which was held in March 1999, Kokang national race leader U Phon Kya Shin said

“Although there are many difficulties in eradicating the narcotics, efforts will be

made with firm determination and as a duty in realizing the aim.”


Opium substitute crop cultivation is the best possible means to set up opium free zones in

Shan State North. Cultivation of buckwheat with the help of the Japanese agricultural

organization is gaining cent per cent success in Tashetan, Kokang region over 380 acres

were put under buckwheat in Tashetan in 1998.

Two-hundred acres of buckwheat will

be grown in Tashetan, Laukkai and Chinshwehaw in 199. Buckwheat will be cultivated on

10,000 acres in Shan State  North. The Japanese government under the   Aid for

Increased Food Production (2KR)  programme provided Yan 800 million to  Myanmar

in 1998. Myanmar Anti- Narcotics Association (MANA) and Border development Association,

which are NGOs, are also participating in the projects. Shan State North Special Region 2

while implementing regional tasks with the government assistance is also launching

programmes. to wipe out poppy cultivation. Work programmes are being laid down to

cultivate opium substitute crops, educate poppy growers, extend opium free zones year wise

in rooting out poppy cultivation and to declare the entire Wa region an opium free zone in


The Special Region 2 in implementing

the three-year programme from 1989 to 1992 encouraged local people to cultivate substitute

crops in reducing opium fields. In Nantip Township in February 1992, over 3000 acres of

poppy fields were destroyed In Nawi region on 5 June 1992, 56 kilos of heroin which would

worth US $ 120 million at street prices, 164 kilos of opium and chemicals were destroyed.

On 24 July 1994, Pankhan district announced that efforts would be made to wipe out opium

in Wa region; action would be taken for failure to comply with the education programmes

and the law; drug abusers would face death sentence and trafficking in China would face

jail or death sentences. Wa region in announcing the 10-year narcotics eradication

programme in May 1995 stated that first, efforts would be made to declare Hotaung, Nantip,

Pankhan and Mongywin districts as opium free zones with the government’s assistance and

international help, Efforts were made to wipe out poppy cultivation in Mongmaw, Waingkaung

and Mongpauk districts in 1996 and opium substitute crops were cultivated successfully in

Hotaung on 25 June 1997, 75 kilos of heroin worth US$ 39.8 million, 152 kilos of opium,

540,000 stimulant tables and chemical were destroyed. 

In implementing the five-year project after 1994, 6,000acrea were put under

substitute crops in Wa region-10,000 acres of rubber, coffee and other crops in

Pankhan,50,000 acres of rubber, tea, lichee, mango and pine Nantip, Lonhtan, Mongmaw

District and Mongpauk District. At the ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of peace in

Wa region, Wa national leader U Pauk Yu Chan said, “The entire Wa region can be

declared opium free zone by the. year 2005 in a profound manner as 30 per cent of poppy

cultivation was reduced in 10 years as projected”


Similarly, peace groups of Kachin State-Kachin State Special Region-1 led by U Sa

Khon Ting Ring and Special Region-2 led by U Zaw Maing – have destroyed poppy fields and

exposed and arrested drug traffickers since peace has been achieved in the region.

Arrangements are also being made to cultivate substitute crops. Due to the cooperative

efforts poppy cultivation could be wiped out almost totally in Kachin State. Other peace

groups are also actively participating in the tasks together with the government.


As national race armed groups have returned to the legal fold and are rendering

co-operation in implementing the tasks, the Tatmadaw is able give more attention to

eradicating narcotics. The national groups have destroyed 406 kilos of heroin, 3730 kilos

of opium, 690 liters of Phensedyle, 25,721 liters of chemical liquid, 715,492 stimulant

tablets, 21 opium refineries and 7836 acres of poppy fields. 

As the national race groups are

implementing the narcotic eradication, opium substitute crop cultivation, region

development programmes, it is obvious that these national groups have no relations with

the narcotic drugs. Bangkok Post daily issued on 23 July 1999 report Director of ONCB of

northern Thailand Pinyo Thong Chai as saying, “MTA leader Khun Sa and his son arc now

resuming the narcotic business at Golden Triangle Region at present.” That was a

baseless news reported without any firm evidence U Khun Sa made the surrender; how the

arrangements were made; and the manpower and fire power of the group were not required to

explain as everybody know these facts. But I will explain about the arrangements –

(1) He must make the unconditional surrender;

(2) He must stay clear from narcotic drugs;

(3) He must stay accord to the government’s arrangements. The government will render

security for him. He surrendered after these agreements were reached.

U Khun Sa is living in line with

these agreements. His sons and daughters are engaged in local gem mining works. It is just

a baseless accusation.

There are accusations as if the

Tatmadaw were ignoring the narcotic related affairs of national groups which are directly

connected with narcotics. The Tatmadaw since before 1988 launched attacks in crushing drug

production and trafficking of insurgents along the border. It had launched special

military operations such as Moehein, Ngayeban, Taungyanshin, Taunghtaikpan, Aungmoe-hein

annually in eradicating the narcotics.   

The State Peace

and Development Council held the special meeting of Central Committee for Drug Abuse

Control on 3 December 1993 with the leadership of Secretary-1 of the State Peace and

Development Council to enhance drug eradication efforts. CCDAC was reformed at the

meeting. Baseline data on poppy cultivation in Myanmar was collected for six months in

1998. According to the data it was known that there were 151,201 acres of poppy fields and

66,463 drug addicts in the nation. The baseline data is being collected annually.

The dailies in

Thailand were reporting that millions of stimulant tables were entering Thailand from

Myanmar every day; the Myanmar Tatmadaw was involved in the trafficking of stimulant

tablets and Wa armed groups were transporting the tablets to Thailand The reports added as

if Wa group were permitted to produce narcotics; and as if the Tatmadaw were rendering

assistance to the group. The Wa group residing at Moeyun region near the Thai-Myanmar

border is under the leadership of U Pauk Yu Chan of the Special Region 2. The Wa group is

implementing projects to declare Wa region the opium free zone in 2005. It is conducing

regional development tasks with the help of the government. Over 400,000 trees including

5000 lychee plants have been planted in Wunton region, Monghsat Township. Paddy is grown

on  5200 acres in Lwehsansaw region. Fruit trees are being planted in Tachilek

Township. Poultry farm was established near Kengtung. The farm is now producing meat. Fish

and chicken farming is gaining success in Tachilek. These development have proved that the

Wa national group in Moeyun region are making efforts to free the entire region from

narcotics by the year 2005. Such efforts to root out narcotics and to develop the region

should be encouraged and welcomed. There was no abuse and trafficking of stimulant tablets

till 1996. Chemical and machines used for producing drugs are not manufactured in Myanmar.

Ephedrine used in making stimulant tables is produced in neighboring countries. As Myanmar

government and the people are making collective efforts in eradicating the heroin

production and trafficking, drug traffickers are turning to stimulants. They are producing

and trafficking the pills at the border with chemicals and raw materials which are

available in the neighboring countries. In reality the Wa group is not the only group in

Moeyun region. There are KMT remnants who are producing narcotics; another Wa group led by

Maha Hsan; SURA group led by Ywet Sit which remained in the jungles when U Khun Sa made

the unconditional surrender. Ywet Sit group is producing heroin and stimulant tablets.

Representatives of the group were arrested for trafficking narcotics. But the Thai dailies

were highlighting the news on Ywet Sit’s show of destroying poppy fields and a small

number of stimulants produced by his group. It is obvious that the armed groups active in

Thai-Border are existing on narcotics and are-related to the drug business Myanmar since

it seized stimulant tablets in 1996 has enhanced its efforts in eradicating the Drugs. The

seized 3863.6 kilos of Ephedrine and 12,433 gallons of chemical liquid which was enough to

produce 13.66 million stimulant tablets since the start of 1999.

            The news reported by

Thai dailies are groundless. These reports could have ill effects on Myanmar’s drug

eradication efforts, disparaged Myanmar government and caused misunderstanding between the

government and the national races armed groups. In reality the problem of narcotic is a

regional problem. Instead of criticising others, efforts should be made to render

assistance in solving the problem. Myanmar is implementing its 15-year plan to root out

narcotic drugs. The plan can be realized in a shorter period if the nation gets

international assistance. Myanmar will continue to implement the plan till success is

achieved with or without receiving assistance from other counties.   


replied to queries raised by journalists.


Local and foreign journalists visited the anti- drug exhibition.


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