Lin moves casinos out
Lin Mingxian aka Sai Leun, leader of the Mongla ceasefire group, has recently ordered construction of new gaming houses 16 miles away from the Sino-Burma border as insisted by the Chinese authorities, according to sources in eastern Shan State...
No.02 - 04/06
9 April 2006
Lin moves casinos out
Lin Mingxian aka Sai Leun, leader of the Mongla ceasefire group, has recently ordered construction of new gaming houses 16 miles away from the Sino-Burma border as insisted by the Chinese authorities, according to sources in eastern Shan State.
Five new buildings, one said to be owned by Lin, were under construction at the village of Wan Hsieo, Mongma tract, 41 miles northeast of Kengtung on the way to Mongla, when S.H.A.N. sources visited the area recently.
One of them has been already in operation since 1 March and Sai Leun has instructed that all five should be opened by May. "Residents of Mongma will be exempted from all taxations beginning this year," he was quoted as saying. "The only burden you will continue to bear is supplying us with new recruits for our army (National Democratic Alliance Army Eastern Shan State)."
Until late 2004, the bulk of NDAA-ESS's revenue had come from tourism and casinos. But since then Chinese authorities had closed down the border in an effort to prevent misappropriation of state funds by state personnel through gambling thereby turning the once booming city into a ghost town.
The group is also under pressure to give up its arms in exchange for business concessions. So far Lin has been able to resist squeezing from both sides of the border partly by allowing Burmese civil servants to establish offices in Mongla. "All government offices can be recognized by the national flag on their premises," said a source who comes from Kengtung. "And if you want to pass the border to Talaw (Daluo) on the Chinese side, you no longer need to apply for a border pass from Sai Leun's men but only from the Burmese immigration."
It still remains to be seen how a three nation (China, Burma and Thailand) cross-border trade could be worked out in the near future. The second Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge between Maesai and Tachilek was inaugurated on 22 January. "Despite that, business is still slow," said a customs official in Maesai.
During a township level meeting on 3 March, Thailand had asked Burma to help promote trade between the three countries, as the cross-border trade had not been on the up as anticipated earlier, according to the local Pracharaj News.