Junta Encourages Poppy Cultivation
Junta Encourages Poppy Cultivation?
Junta officers across the border are rallying for increased cultivation of poppies in their respective areas, reported Maihoong from southern Shan State.
On 22 November, Captain Han Sein, Commander, Company 4, IB 65 (Mongton) on his arrival in Mong Kyawt village, Mongton Township, Monghsat District, opposite Chiangmai Province, summoned a meeting at the village temple where one member from each household was ordered to attend.
"He told the villagers they would be free to grow opuim, for half a viss of opium (1.8 kg) per field as tax", said Maihoong. "For those who are short of capital a loan of Kyat 10,000 - 30,000 would be provided".
The produce must be sold, at market price, only to Chinese or Lahu traders who held letters of authorization from either him or Ltc. Myint Sway, Commander, IB 65, he said. Any sale without their knowledge would be faced with severe punishment.
"He therefore urged them to recall all the villagers who had left Mongkyawt since 1994, when Khun Sa's troops attacked the Burmese garrison there", said Maihoong.
Afterwards, Capt. Han Sein and his 50-odd troops set out to visit other villages in the surrounding areas until 26 November before returning to Mongton.
According to the junta's own statistics, altogether 101,845 acres of land were cultivated last year for opium under official supervision. (Opium Acreage, S.H.A.N. 25 November)