Burma

Burma burns opium, but UN sees hype

Posted on July 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

South East AsiaTo mark International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking June 26, Burmese authorities held drug-burning ceremonies, boasting the destruction of seized opium, heroin and methamphetamine said to be worth a combined $130 million. The mass burnings in Rangoon, Mandalay and Taunggyi were attended by officials from the DEA as well as from Chinese drug enforcement agencies. But UN officials meanwhile warned that illicit drug production in Burma continued to rise—mostly to supply a growing Asian market. Jeremy Douglas, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Southeast Asia representative, told The Irrawady website that Burmese opium production was "in 2006, at the lowest point, representing roughly 7% of the global production; it is now 18%. So it has increased year on year." As usual, the bulk of the opium was produced in Shan and Kachin states, where tribal armies have long used the opium trade to finance their insurgencies. But Douglas, speaking at a Rangoon press conference announcing release of the UNODC's new World Drug Report, also said Shan state has become a major transshipment point for methamphetamine—seizures of which in Southeast Asia are at the "highest levels ever recorded." 

Golden Triangle opium boom

Posted on December 18th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

South East AsiaThe UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its newly released annual Southeast Asia Opium Survey (PDF) finds that opium production in Burma continued to increase in 2013—up 26% to an estimated 870 metric tons. This is the highest amount since the UN began keeping track in 2002. In 1999, the Burmese regime promised to eradicate opium production by 2014, but production has increased every year since 2006. The UNODC report acknowledges that eradication efforts have failed to address the political and economic factors that drive farmers to grow opium in the first place. With poppy fetching 19 times more than rice, struggling peasants have few other options to make a living.

Burmese warlord confesses to Mekong massacre

Posted on September 25th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

South East AsiaSix men accused of murdering 13 crew members of two Chinese merchant ships on the Mekong River last year pleaded guilty Sept. 20 at their trial in Kunming, capital of China's Yunnan province. The defendants included Naw Kham (also rendered Nor Kham), purportedly one of the most powerful warlords in the Golden Triangle opium-growing region that straddles the borders of Burma, Thailand and Laos. The crew were massacred by an armed gang that attacked two cargo ships last October. Chinese media said the gang was involved in kidnapping as well as international drug running.

US chews out Peru on coca eradication; Bolivia chews back

Posted on March 27th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

The US State Department's 2012 International Narcotics Control Strategy report contains harsh words for Peru, lamenting the country's "slow advance" in coca leaf eradication. The report says the country has 53,000 hectares under coca cultivation. Colombia has 100,000 hectares—but Peru's total has increased in recent years, while Colombia's has dropped. (Although Peru has challenged these claims.) The report calls out Peru's Customs Service, Coast Guard, Port Authority and Public Ministry as blocking progress in the anti-narcotics struggle. State Department analyst Pedro Yaranga told Lima's La Republica that "there does not exist a decision to attack the coca source areas [cuencas cocaleras]." He particularly named the Upper Huallaga Valley and Apurímac-Ene River Valley (VRAE).

UN drug agency won't take stand on executions

Posted on March 2nd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

South East AsiaThe UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said Feb. 28 that it is taking no view on the Thai government's plans to speed up the execution of convicted drug traffickers. The agency said it neither supports nor opposes the death penalty for drug-related offenses. "We are an impartial body and respect the rule of law and jurisdiction of countries," said INCB Thai board member Viroj Sumyai. 

Meth madness behind Mekong massacre?

Posted on November 1st, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

South East AsiaNine Thai soldiers turned themselves in Oct. 29, three weeks after a deadly attack on two Chinese freighters on the Mekong River near the Burmese border. Thirteen Chinese crew members were killed in the attack, their bodies found floating in the river. News accounts in Thailand indicate the freighters were carrying nearly a million amphetamine pills. The army commander in in Thailand's northern Chiang Rai province, Major Gen. Prakarn Chonlayuth, speculated that Burma-based Shan warlord Nor Kham had arranged the execution of the 13 Chinese seamen in a dispute over trafficking routes. (Asia Sentinel, Oct. 31; BBC News, Oct. 29)

White House expands drug watch list to include all Central America

Posted on September 17th, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

President Barack Obama has included El Salvador and Belize on the list of 22 countries ranked as "Major Illicit Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2012"—for the first time placing all seven Central American nations on the annual list that identifies countries that "significantly affect the United States" through their role in the drug trade.

Burma prepares offensive against Shan State Army

Posted on March 26th, 2010 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaAfter years of relative peace, Burma's military junta is said to be preparing an offensive against the ethnic guerilla armies of the Golden Triangle. In the village of Doi Tailaeng, on Burma's border with Thailand, militants of the 10,000-strong Shan State Army (SSA) are carrying out maneuvers in preparation for the expected onslaught. "We are preparing for new battles," said SSA commander Sao Yawd Serk.

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