Local druglord's fields out of bounds to outsiders
According to Palaung Youth Newsletter, August 2003, northern Shan State's well-known militia leader Panhsay Kyaw Myint's domain will no longer allow local poppy farmers to hire outsiders as farmhands during the 2003-2004 poppy season.
The reason was that more outlanders had led to more security leaks that had in turn led to serious warnings by the military government, explains the newsletter.
Kyaw Myint, 50, a Panhsay (ethnic Chinese Muslim), had issued notifications early this year urging the locals to register with him the planned location and estimated size of each poppy field by 12 February. He, an officially-recognized militia leader in Namkham township that borders with China, would be responsible for overall security.
During the last poppy season, on 28 December 2002, a company commanded by Maj Myint Naing had marched to the area to destroy the poppies, but Panhsay Kyaw Myint, who had already reached understanding with the major's superior, Col San Shwe Thar, had led the patrol to Kho Mon where illegal logging was taking place instead, reports the paper.
Kyaw Myint's younger brother, Kyaw Htwe, is said to have won a license for the ferry service across the Nam Mao (Shweli in Burmese) near Namkham. The paper maintains that the ferry business has enabled the brothers to traffick drugs to China, India and Kachin State's Hpakant jade mines.
The newsletter also scorns the official crop substitution project in the area. The villagers in Namkham were told to grow corn, it says. But the corn seeds arrived late in the season. Moreover, each villager received only about 2 spoonfuls of corn seeds to grow, which they had to purchase at K. 300 per tin. However, they were not allowed to purchase from the outside for more seeds. Rubber plantation is only for people with organizations, it says, because ordinary families cannot afford it.
As for opium plantations, those near the motor roads and towns were destroyed, but Panhsay and Ta Moe Nye (Ta Moeng Ngen in nearby Kutkhai township) were growing opium as before, it concludes.