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BurmaNet News: November 1, 2000

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
________November 1, 2000   Issue # 1653__________

*AFP: Myanmar launches crackdown on Indian rebel camps 
*Daily Express: How I sang though hell of Burma jail

*Japan Times: Tokyo Takes Tender Tack 
*AP: Myanmar students dissidents vow to continue armed struggle
*Bangkok Post: Overcrowded camps worsen with baby boom
*Myanmar Times: Ministers discuss ?net in Hanoi  
*The Times of India: Myanmar refugee claim opens can of worms 

*Heritage Foundation: Burma Entry for 2001 Index of Economic Freedom
*The Korea Herald: Korea, Myanmar discuss economic cooperation   

*Bangkok Post: Editorial - Drug traffickers exploit the weak
The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

AFP: Myanmar launches crackdown on Indian rebel camps 

GUWAHATI, India, Nov 1 (AFP) - The Myanmar army has launched a crackdown 
on Indian separatist guerrillas holed up inside the country, rebel 
leaders said Wednesday. 

 The outlawed National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) said one of 
its training camps located inside Myanmar had been torched by government 

 The NSCN is fighting for an independent tribal homeland in India's 
northeastern state of Nagaland, bordering Myanmar. 

 "Myanmarese troops have launched an offensive since October 15 against 
us," Kitovi Zhimomi, the self-styled "prime minister" of the NSCN, told 
AFP by telephone from his hideout somewhere in Nagaland. 

 "We have shown the utmost restraint and have not retaliated as the 
Myanmarese troops would indulge in indiscriminate harassment of the 
common Naga people living there if we do so," Zhimoni said. 

 Myanmar troops on October 25 shot dead five Indian frontier guards 
along the border. 

 Myanmar later apologized, saying the troops had mistaken the guards for 
Indian separatist guerrillas. 

 Zhimoni said thousands of Christian Naga people had fled across the 
border into India last month, alleging persecution by the military 

 The Naga people, mostly from villages in the Sagaing district of 
northern Myanmar, crossed into Nagaland's Mon district "as their houses 
were set ablaze," the NSCN leader said. 

 "There has been large scale torture of the Nagas, forcing many of them 
to desert their villages and take shelter either in the jungles or in 
parts of Nagaland." 

 There are an estimated 20,000 Naga people in Myanmar. 

 Church leaders said the Naga Christians had been forced to close down 
their churches, which had then been desecrated or used as kitchens by 
the Myanmar army. 


Daily Express: How I sang though hell of Burma jail 

Oct 30, 2000.


HUMAN rights activist James Mawdsley has told how he survived beatings 
in a Burmese jail by reading the Bible and singing two songs - Lord of 
the Dance and Singin' in the Rain.  

Mr Mawdsley drew fortitude from his faith to endure brutal treatment and 
415 days of solitary confinement in the hellish Keng Tung prison.  

He also defused the situation and brought smiles to fellow inmates' 
faces with his musical renditions.  

Mr Mawdsley, 27, a Roman Catholic, is now home after being released 
early from a 17-year jail term imposed to punish his pro-democracy 
demonstrations against the Burmese military regime's slaughter of ethnic 

"I read the Bible several times over and prayed almost continuously," he 
told the Daily Express. "I'd read it at school years ago but in prison 
it had a massive and wonderful effect. It is very relevant to today's 

"It gave me strength because it made me realise the fight has been going 
on for thousands of years. Jeremiah was imprisoned and, reading about 
the hardships he and others like John the Baptist and St Paul went 
through, I wanted to get stuck into the junta.  

"Every evening the other prisoners had to line up and sing the junta's 
anthem. I disrupted it by singing Lord of the Dance. I could see the 
prisoners nearest me all had grins on their faces." Mr Mawdsley even 
sang in the moments before his torture began. "They came to beat me the 
first time because I was banging on my door in protest at being in 
solitary. I realised I wouldn't want to get myself worked up when they 
hit me as that would escalate the situation so I sang Singin' in the 
Rain to stop myself reacting aggressively."  

Then, and on the following two days, 15 men trooped into Mr Mawdsley's 
toad, bat and rat-infested cell and some beat him savagely with 3ft 
wooden clubs.  

He recalled: "I prayed, saying I would do whatever was required but I 
would be very grateful for a change. I was confident in God because He 
has been helpful so many times.  

"And the next morning a prison officer apologised, promising to take my 
message to the authorities and that such incidents would never recur. He 
even offered to punish those who had beaten me. I said: 'No, they are my 
mates.' They were trustee prisoners who had been carrying out orders and 
who wept in shame afterwards."  

Mr Mawdsley, from Ormskirk, Lancashire, also gained solace from other 
prisoners, British diplomats in Burma and his family, as well as 
pressure groups the Jubilee Campaign and Christian Solidarity 
Worldwide.But about the future he is uncertain. "I do know to get 
arrested there again would be stupid. But Burma will stay with me until 
it has democracy."  


Xinhua: Motor Vehicles in Operation Increase in Myanmar 

YANGON (Oct. 30) XINHUA - The number of motor vehicles in operation in 
Myanmar totaled 434,315 at the end of June this year, an increase of 
25,614 or 6.26 percent compared with a year ago. 

Of the total registered motor vehicles, there were 173,081 passenger 
cars, 54,576 trucks, 16,660 buses and 174,490 motor cycles, according to 
the latest Economic Indicators published by the country's Central 
Statistical Organization. 

The number of motor vehicles in Myanmar increased by 31,828 annually in 
the last four years. 
These motor vehicles used in Myanmar are mainly those manufactured in 
Japan and most of them are second-hand or outdated ones.
To ensure smooth transport and traffic safety, the Myanmar transport 
authorities have introduced harsher measures to punish drivers who break 
the traffic rules. 

Meanwhile, there are also unlicensed motor vehicles smuggled from the 
country's border regions to inland areas reaching the capital of Yangon. 
Measures are being taken against such vehicles. 

Besides, the Myanmar authorities have banned use of cars imported under 
the transit trade system to a third country since September 1997. 

The authorities have also prohibited enterprises doing business in the 
country from re-selling their motor vehicles imported with tax relief 
and tax exemption beginning November 1998. 

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

Japan Times: Tokyo Takes Tender Tack 

Allies' disapproval prompts Japan to reconsider Myanmar panel meeting 

Staff writer 

Japan's Myanmar policymakers are facing a dilemma of whether they should 
honor their pledge and hold a second meeting of the Japan-Myanmar 
economic panel.
Or delay it for a lack of progress.

With Myanmar politics showing no sign of breaking through a recent 
logjam, the policymakers are having second thoughts about the planned 
second meeting of the fledgling joint panel by the end of this year.

The panel, which consists of both senior government officials and 
private-sector experts, was inaugurated earlier this year to help the 
impoverished Southeast Asian country promote economic reforms.

When the panel members gathered in Yangon in June, they agreed to meet 
again in Tokyo by the end of this year, although no specific date was 

"Our plan to hold another meeting of the joint economic panel (at some 
time) remains unchanged despite the current situation in Myanmar," a 
senior Foreign Ministry official said, requesting anonymity. "We are not 
discussing Japanese financial assistance at the panel. We are just 
advising Myanmar on how to promote reforms of its economic structure.

"Therefore, (holding another panel meeting) is a matter that should be 
thought about separately from political issues such as the lack of 
democratization or violations of human rights."

But if the second panel meeting is actually held in Tokyo despite no 
improvement in Myanmar politics, Japan may face a barrage of criticism 
from the U.S. and Europe as well as human-rights activists both at home 
and abroad. This is the prospect that worries Japan's Myanmar 

While insisting that there is no change in Japan's basic policy, the 
official acknowledged that the next meeting may be delayed until early 
next year.

"We want to closely watch developments in Myanmar politics for a while 
before deciding when -- and how -- the second panel meeting should 
convene," the official said. "Even if the next panel meeting is actually 
held by the end of this year, as currently planned, we may have to keep 
a low profile."

The current showdown between the Myanmar military junta and prodemocracy 
leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy erupted in early 
September when Suu Kyi was forced to end a nine-day roadside protest 
just outside Yangon.

The military regime now refers to itself as the State Peace and 
Development Council, or SPDC.

The military regime forcibly returned the Nobel Peace Prize laureate to 
her Yangon home and confined her there. Although Suu Kyi was released 
from effective incarceration 13 days later, she was again placed under 
effective house arrest following another failed attempt to travel 
outside the capital.

Foreign diplomats in Yangon have not been allowed to visit Suu Kyi at 
her home.

The military took power in a 1988 coup. It then nullified the results of 
a 1990 election in which Suu Kyi's NLD won a landslide victory. Suu Kyi 
was placed under house arrest for nearly six years until the summer of 

Japan, the United States and many industrialized countries in Europe 
claim that the military regime's current constraints on Suu Kyi are 
virtually the same as her 1989-1995 house arrest.

But while calling for improvements in the protection of human rights and 
democratic principles, Japan has taken a much softer approach toward 
Myanmar's military rulers than have the U.S. and Europe. Japan has 
argued for a "constructive engagement" approach toward the junta to 
bring about favorable changes there, instead of ostracizing it 

Although Japan has suspended large-scale economic aid for new projects 
since the 1988 coup, largely out of fear of drawing flak from the U.S. 
and Europe, it continues to funnel some financial aid to the military 

Tokyo insists the aid -- a relatively small amount in comparison with 
what it would likely provide under normal circumstances -- goes for for 
"humanitarian" projects in health and other areas.

In stark contrast, the U.S. and Europe have toughened sanctions against 
Myanmar during the past decade.

Neither approach appears to be paying any dividends, and the current 
standoff between the SPDC and Suu Kyi's NLD now poses the biggest-ever 
challenge to Japan's policy of "constructive engagement."

Japanese officials say they firmly believe that driving Myanmar further 
into a corner through sanctions will only backfire.

"It will encourage Myanmar's military rulers to build a wall around 
themselves and make them even tougher toward domestic opposition 
forces," one government official said, asking that he not be named.

The U.S. and European nations disagree. In their New York meeting in 
September, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, an ardent personal 
admirer of Suu Kyi, implicitly urged her Japanese counterpart, Yohei 
Kono, that Japan abandon its constructive engagement efforts with 
Myanmar and follow the U.S. and European example.

The U.S. is even critical of Japan's launching of the joint economic 
panel, claiming it will only spoil the SPDC by sending the wrong signal 
-- one that says Japan condones the lack of progress on democratization 
and the protection of human rights.

Even Japanese officials are not sure whether the Myanmar situation will 
get better or worse.

"The current political stalemate is probably the result of a tug-of-war 
that is taking place behind the scenes between hardline conservatives 
and moderates within SPDC over how to deal with Suu Kyi and her NLD," 
one government source said. "Therefore, we cannot predict at all what 
action the SPDC will take next."

The source added: "Japan has not attached -- and will not attach -- any 
political condition for hosting the second meeting of the joint 
Japan-Myanmar economic panel. But if the SPDC goes even further and 
takes a drastic step like outlawing the NLD, then it will become almost 
impossible to hold the meeting."



AP: Myanmar students dissidents vow to continue armed struggle 

November 1, 2000

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Myanmar's leading group of exiled student 
dissidents marked its 12th anniversary Wednesday, vowing to continue an 
armed struggle against the military regime. 

 ``The political problems in Burma will not be solved if the regime 
remains inflexible and power-mad,'' said the All Burma Students' 
Democratic Front in a statement issued in Bangkok. 

 ``The ABSDF will have to continue its armed struggle as one of the 
means necessary to fulfill the political needs of the movement,'' it 

 The group was formed by students who fled Myanmar, also known as Burma, 
after a bloody crackdown on 1988 prodemocracy demonstrations against the 
military, which has kept an iron grip on the country since 1962. 

 Thousands of protesters were killed and thousands more fled into exile 
in neighboring Thailand. Some took up weapons, to fight alongside ethnic 
insurgents seeking greater autonomy in Myanmar. 

 In 1997, the ABSDF said it would focus on peaceful political 
activities, but squabbles within its ranks that led to some leading 
members leaving the organization has seen another shift in policy. 

 The ABSDF says it has 1,300-1,500 members, including about 500 people 
under arms inside Myanmar, fighting with ethnic armies along the border 
with Thailand. 

 The armed resistance to the regime has dwindled in recent years due to 
increased military pressure from the Myanmar government, which has 
reached cease-fires with most rebel groups over the past decade. 

 In its statement, the ABSDF demanded the regime release all political 
prisoners in Myanmar and hold dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader 
of the prodemocracy party that swept the 1990 general elections but was 
not allowed to take power. 

 ``No democratic system can grow under the dictatorship,'' the statement 

 ``The military dictatorship must be abolished to allow democracy and 
human rights to flourish in our country and to promote equality for all 
the nationalities of Burma.''


Bangkok Post: Overcrowded camps worsen with baby boom

 Nov 1, 2000.

Problems multiply as birth rate soars
Saritdet Marukatat

The birth rate among Burmese refugees is four times the national 
average, posing problems for already-jammed camps. 

The Interior Ministry says average population growth at shelters inside 
Thailand is about 4%, compared with a national rate of 1%. 

The problem is most serious in camps at Tham Hin in Suan Phung district, 
Ratchaburi, and Mae La in Tak's Tha Song Yang district. 

Every month 20 babies were born at Tham Hin camp, said one official. 

The figure is even higher at Mae La, which is the biggest camp with some 
30,000 refugees. 
The Tham Hin camp houses more than 8,000 ethnic Karen fleeing fighting 
between Karen armed groups and Burmese government forces inside Burma. 

Thailand has about 101,000 Burmese refugees, mostly Karen, in border 
camps in Mae Hong Son, Tak, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi and Chumphon, said 
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

Last month while visiting Tham Hin, UNHCR chief Sadako Ogata said the 
camp lacked adequate space and sanitary conditions. 

The government said it has no intention of expanding camps to alleviate 
Officials have encouraged refugees to plan their families and use 
condoms, with only limited success. Birth control is contrary to the 
religious beliefs of many refugees. Forcing the issue would raise 
concerns about human rights violations. 

Health officials say a camp environment is not the best place to bring 
up a child. Fungpit Boonliang, a doctor with Thai Red Cross, said babies 
may encounter developmental problems. Their mothers were stressed, and 
with many children competing for food they may suffer malnutrition. 
"Maybe children look normal now but they could develop slowly or not 
develop at all in years to come. That's what we're most worried about", 
said Dr Fungpit. 

Though HIV/Aids and narcotic addiction were still the biggest problems 
among camp refugees, the high birth rate could not be overlooked, he 


Myanmar Times: Ministers discuss ?net in Hanoi  

October 23-29  ,2000                             

THE signing of a memorandum of understanding on a national communication 
plan and pledges to stay united in the face of bad press formed the core 
of discussions among ASEAN?s 10 information ministers in Hanoi last 
week. The two-day meeting raised a series of issues for discussions, 
including the development of an ASEAN website and the possibility of 
staging the bloc?s regular forums on the internet. Myanmar?s Deputy 
Minister for Information, Brig-Gen Aung Thein, represented Myanmar along 
with aids including Lt-Col Tin Oo, a Senior Defence Ministry official 
responsible for the country?s IT development program. 

The meeting, which was held under the Chairmanship of Brunei, urged a 
united front against negative media coverage. ?We?ve agreed on several 
action plans to restore confidence back to ASEAN and put up a united 
front to counter negative media reports,? Hussein Mohamed Yusof, 
Brunei?s Culture Minister, told the meeting. At a press conference after 
the meeting, the secretary general of the ASEAN Secretariat, Rodolofo 
Serverino, defended ASEAN?s long-standing policy of non-interference in 
the internal affairs of the member states, saying it was the basis of 
the UN charter and the established protocol of international relations.


The Times of India: Myanmar refugee claim opens can of worms 

News Service
Tuesday 31 October 2000 

By Akshaya Mukul 

NEW DELHI: Jafar Alam, a Rohingya refugee and political activist from 
the Arakan region of Myanmar, who was languishing in Deoband jail since 
1998, was released on Monday and later rearrested. Chances are that he 
might be deported to Myanmar.  

Meanwhile, the South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC), 
which has been fighting for granting refugee status to Jafar, wrote to 
the National Human Rights Commission on Monday to intervene immediately 
in this matter. On its part, the NHRC has sent SAHRDC's request to the 
ministry of external affairs and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees 
(UNHCR) for speedy action. 

Alam, who entered India illegally at the end of 1997, was earlier a 
member of the National Democratic Party for Human Rights. Once in India 
Jafar went to meet his brother, Budiul Alam, a UNHCR refugee, in 
Deoband. Since Jafar was travelling without papers, Budiul came to Delhi 
to talk to UNHCR officials to grant him refugee status. In a sworn 
affidavit, Budiul says that by the time he returned to Deoband, Jafar 
was arrested by UP police under section 14 of the Foreigners Act for 
illegal entry on January 29, 1998. 

After his arrest, UNHCR officials interviewed Jafar twice in Deoband 
jail. But Budiul alleges in his affidavit that when the first interview 
was conducted by NL Rao on May 7, 1998, Jafar was not informed who he 
was. Neither was he told that it was a determination interview. 
Moreover, no interpreter was present during the interview, since Jafar 
speaks only Arkanese and Burmese. 
But on June 11, 1998, the UNHCR wrote to Jafar saying that he could not 
be granted refugee status because he has not been able to show that he 
or any member of his family suffered or could suffer treatment of such 
gravity as to amount to refugee related persecution. However, Budiul 
claims that Jafar was arrested by the military government in 1989 and 
was released only in 1994. Again, in 1996, the military authorities had 
taken him to the Indo- Myanmar border to do forced labour. 		

Not happy with the outcome of the first interview, Budiul appealed on 
behalf of his brother. The second interview took place on September 25, 
1998 and was conducted by Shambul Rizvi Khan of the UNHCR. Budiul, who 
acted as the interpreter, says that Khan was satisfied with the 
interview. But in October, when Budiul went to UNHCR, NL Rao allegedly 
told him that there is little chance of Jafar getting refugee status as 
there was pressure from the government to deny Muslims from Myanmar 
refugee status.
However JM Castro-Magluff, deputy chief of the UNHCR in Delhi, denies 
these allegations. Jafar, he says, was not suffering on the ground of 
race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or 
political opinion. Also, Castro-Magluff says there is no reason why 
Jafar should get refugee status just because his brother is one. ``We do 
prima-facie determination on an individual basis,'' he says. 

On the allegation that the UNHCR is under pressure not to give refugee 
status to Muslims, Castro-Magluff says that the fear is unfounded since 
the maximum number of refugees in India are Muslims. He also denies 
there is any pressure from the government on this issue. However, he 
adds that Jafar's case can be reconsidered if some new element is added 
by him in his request. 
With time running out, however, it seems improbable that Jafar will be 
accorded refugee status

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

Heritage Foundation: Burma Entry for 2001 Index of Economic Freedom

Oct 31, 2000

[BurmaNet adds...The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think 
tank/advocacy organization
in Washington and is influential among Republican policy makers.]


Year: 2001
Rank: 145
Score: 4.20
Category: Repressed 

Scores for Prior Years: 2001 4.20  2000 4.10  1999 4.10  1998 4.20  1997 
4.30  1996 4.30  1995 N/A  

Burma?s military junta suppresses pro-democracy forces, and its economic 
policies have been equally repressive. Approvals for foreign direct 
investment fell by 96 percent in 1999. The government focused instead on 
improving agricultural output, largely by making more land productive. 
Unfortunately, agricultural production barely keeps pace with population 
growth. Inflation has averaged slightly below 30 percent for the past 
decade and is expected to remain at this level as the government 
continues to print money to fund its budget deficit. Massive spending on 
agricultural subsidies and state procurement of rice has led to bad 
debts that could soon result in a systemic banking crisis. The 
government?s foreign investment regime has become more onerous. As a 
result, Burma?s overall score is 0.10 point worse this year. 

Trade Policy
Score: 5?Stable (very high level of protectionism)

Burma?s average tariff rate is 50.7 percent (based on total taxes on 
international trade as a percent of total imports). Non-tariff barriers 
include licenses and import bans. The Economist Intelligence Unit 
reports that new import restrictions were imposed in March 1998. 
Specifically, "Only prescribed items may be imported; importers must 
purchase essential imports before permission is given to import selected 
non-essential items. The junta also banned private exports of key 

Fiscal Burden of Government
Score?Income and Corporate Taxation: 2.5?Stable
(moderate tax rates)
Score?Government Expenditures: 1?Stable
(very low level of government expenditure)
Final Score: 2?Stable (low cost of government)

Burma?s top income tax rate is 40 percent; the average taxpayer is in 
the 5 percent bracket. The top marginal corporate tax rate is 30 
percent. In 1999, government expenditures equaled 11.8 percent of GDP.

Government Intervention in the Economy
Score: 3?Stable (moderate level)

Government expenditures equaled 11.8 percent of GDP in 1999. (Data on 
government consumption are not available; therefore, data on government 
expenditures were used as a proxy.) In 1997, Burma received 30.4 percent 
of its total revenues from state-owned enterprises and from government 
ownership of property.

Monetary Policy
Score: 5?Stable (very high level of inflation)

>From 1990 to 1999, Burma?s weighted average annual rate of inflation was 
27.13 percent.

Capital Flows and Foreign Investment
Score: 5?Worse (very high barriers)

Government policies actively, if not officially, deter foreign 
investment. Foreign direct investment approvals plummeted from a high of 
$2.8 billion in 1996?1997 to only $29.5 million in 1998?1999. Foreign 
investors face a massive bureaucracy and extensive government 
corruption. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, "With no 
improvement in sight either in terms of political compromise or economic 
reform and recovery, Myanmar appears all set to remain on the back 
burner for all but the most risk-averse investors." Foreign investors 
also face popular opposition from those who believe that their presence 
only solidifies the military regime?s grip on the country. In response 
to this popular and official hostility, a number of foreign firms have 
left the country. "Privately," continues the EIU, "foreign investors say 
that activist efforts have not done nearly as much damage as have the 
unpredictable, sometimes bizarre, policies of the junta itself. 
Widespread corruption, heavy taxes, poor infrastructure, and policies 
forcing foreign firms to repatriate profits only at the skewed official 
exchange rate make it virtually impossible to turn a profit." As a 
result, Burma?s capital flows and foreign investment score is 1 point 
worse this year.

Banking and Finance
Score: 4?Stable (high level of restrictions)

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the government controls 
the banking system almost completely. There is little competition, and 
those private banks that did emerge during the 1990s are under fire from 
the government as the economy shrinks. Foreign banks have been willing 
to open only representative offices in Burma, and a number of these 
offices have been closed during the past two years, both because of the 
presence of the junta and as a result of the Asian financial crisis. The 
government has enacted some reforms of the financial sector; the 1996 
Insurance Business Law, for example, opened the government monopoly in 
the insurance industry to private (including foreign) competition.

Wages and Prices
Score: 4?Stable (high level of intervention)

In many industries (such as public utilities and some agricultural 
goods), the government has primary responsibility for setting wages and 
prices. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, it also controls 
prices through direct ownership of such industries as postal services, 
telecommunications, utilities, and rice. Prices are becoming more 
liberalized, however.

Property Rights
Score: 4?Stable (low level of protection)

According to the U.S. Department of State, "The judiciary is not 
independent of the military junta?. Pervasive corruption further serves 
to undermine the impartiality of the justice system?. Throughout the 
year, the Government continued to rule by decree and was not bound by 
any constitutional provisions providing fair public trials or any other 

Score: 5?Stable (very high level)

According to the U.S. Department of State, "The concept of a 
market-oriented economy, including reliance on market forces, has not 
worked its way through the bureaucracy to eliminate burdensome 
regulations and procedures?. Burma?s economy remains riddled with 
uneconomic, inefficient policies which have hampered development." 
Overall, reports the Economist Intelligence Unit, "Myanmar continues to 
offer little incentive to investors, domestic or foreign, and the 
business environment remains bureaucratic and cumbersome."

Black Market
Score: 5?Stable (very high level of activity)

Burma?s black market, mainly in consumer goods and pirated intellectual 
property from Western countries, continues to grow. Criminal activity of 
all sorts, including drug trafficking and arms smuggling over the Thai 
border, thrives in the black market and shows signs of increasing rather 
than decreasing. Burma is the world?s biggest producer and supplier of 


The Korea Herald: Korea, Myanmar discuss economic cooperation   

Oct 31, 2000.

Shin Kook-hwan, minister of commerce, industry and energy, met with Pyi 
Sone, Myanmar's minister of commerce, to discuss economic cooperation, 
ministry officials said yesterday.  
Minister Shin asked the Myanmar minister to help Pohang Iron & Steel Co. 
(POSCO)'s company in the country secure import licenses smoothly.  

POSCO's company in Myanmar imports raw steel directly from its 
headquarters in Korea every month, but recently saw delays in obtaining 
import licenses, officials said.  

Shin also asked Pyi Sone for support for an oil exploration project 
underway in Myanmar, a $55 million investment fully financed by Daewoo 

In return, Minister Pyi Sone called on Korea to increase investments and 
technological support for his country through seminars and job training. 

Pyi Sone is in Korea at the invitation of the Foreign Affairs and Trade 
Ministry. He leaves Seoul Thursday after taking part in a Myanmar 
investment session. 


Bangkok Post: Editorial - Drug traffickers exploit the weak

 Oct 31. 2000.

Congratulations are due to the anti-drug officers involved in last 
week's huge haul of heroin in Fiji. They seized more than 300 
kilogrammes of the drug, most of it bound for Australia where it had a 
street value of around US$150 million. The shipment had been tracked by 
authorities of four nations. It originated in Burma, and two ethnic 
Chinese couriers were arrested when the drug payload was seized in Suva 
on Saturday. 

The seizure itself is a success for the men and women who put their 
lives on the line against international drug traffickers. Laboratory 
testing appears to bear out the claim that the seizure is one of the 
largest of the year. The arrests of the two men may yield other agents 
and smuggling facts back up the drug line. Justice Minister Amanda 
Vanstone said the Australian agents who have been stationed in Burma for 
the past 10 months were vital to tracking and seizing the drugs. 
But while the drug bust is a commendable accomplishment, it shows once 
again the major, uphill struggle faced by civilised nations. The fame of 
the Burmese heroin operation has been eclipsed by the methamphetamine 
traffickers in recent months. 

Reliable sources in the anti-narcotics police have said for more than a 
year that Chinese triads have moved into the Burma-based operations. 
Gang chiefs have moved some of their operations to Thailand to be close 
to the action. 

The triads now have become part of the heroin operation once controlled 
more exclusively by Khun Sa. The heroin warlord is a welcome guest of 
the Burmese government. They have made no move to investigate him, 
arrest him, extradite him, or close down his opium and heroin 

Much of the day to day heroin business inside Burma has been assumed by 
the United Wa State Army, which also fully controls the methamphetamine 
trade. For the past year, the Wa leaders have been moving their own 
people into former Shan areas. They have begun cultivating the vast 
opium fields of northern Burma, which yield more drugs per year than in 
any other country but Afghanistan. 

The Fiji seizure also demonstrates that the drugs trade, too, has become 
globalised. Fiji has been a diplomatic basket case since a racist coup 
overthrew the democratic government in May. The government is weak, the 
nation is unstable and justice is arbitrary. 

Drug traffickers saw an opportunity to exploit the weakness and moved 
against Fiji. It was their bad luck that they had, in fact, alerted 
authorities earlier. 

Burma continues to acquiesce in a drug trade which threatens its 
neighbours and troubles the world. The military junta's recent claims to 
have a secret, 15-year plan to eliminate drugs in Burma are not 

Also troubling are other weak links in the hoped-for chain of 
international responsibility. Officials involved in Saturday's seizure 
said it was clear that Fiji was used as a transit point because of the 
weakness of its government and police. 

Several world leaders have been outspoken in their opinions about Fiji. 
Helen Clark, prime minister of New Zealand-Fiji's closest neighbour-has 
refused to sit at the same dining table with the new head of the racist 

New Zealand was one of the countries involved in the successful effort 
of the 300kg heroin shipment, along with the US, Canada and Australia. 
Other countries, including Thailand, are both willing and able to help. 
It is clear that a major international effort is needed in order to 
fight the traffickers. It is sobering to realise that on average, only 
10% of smuggled drugs are intercepted. 
Against the likes of Fiji and Burma, only better co-operation across 
borders can make that record better. 


The BurmaNet News is an Internet newspaper providing comprehensive 
coverage of news and opinion on Burma  (Myanmar) from around the world.  
If you see something on Burma, you can bring it to our attention by 
emailing it to strider@xxxxxxx

For a subscription to Burma's only free daily newspaper, write to: 

You can also contact BurmaNet by phone or fax:

Voice mail or fax (US) +1(202) 318-1261
You will be prompted to press 1 for a voice message or 2 to send a fax.  
If you do neither, a fax tone will begin automatically.

Fax (Japan) +81 (3) 4512-8143


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