Over 30 billion Kyats worth of drugs have been seized in 2,000 cases in Shan Sate since the beginning of 2014 Pol according to Col. Win Tun from the Shan State Police Department.
He made the statement at a press conference about how the state police department is upholding security and the rule of law. It was held at Taunggyi Township police station in Shan State on 28th November and attended by about 30 people, who were a mix of journalists and police department officials.
He said: “In total [in 2014] there have been 2009 cases, amongst these opium and yaba were the most common. We also seized and destroyed opium production factories. Most of the arrests were in the southern and northern parts of Shan State. There were also murder and rape cases related to drugs.”
Sao Khun Sai leader of Shan Drug Watch (SDW) said: “The Burmese Government has been using the drug issue as a political weapon. When they pursue drug cases they do not arrest the main producers and distributors, they let them go free. Instead they arrest only small dealers. If they only prosecute drug cases where there is a political gain for the government [for instance those involving ethnic armed groups] they will never suppress the drug problem.”
In 2014 there were 9837.75 acres of poppy fields destroyed by the authorities in Taunggyi, Loilem, and Kyaington districts in Shan State according to the Burma Police Bureau who said the areas where most poppy fields were destroyed were Hopong, Pinlon, and Hsihseng Townships in Taunggyi District.
The government has not made any alternative development plans for poppy growers such as creating markets for alternative crops and helping them change their lifestyles.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI