Conference on eradication of narcotic drugs in Myanmar
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.
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.
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.