Amazons busting dope peddlers in Shan State North – More details

More details have emerged following SHAN report on 12 October on women in the Sino-Burmese border township of Muse rising against local drug suppliers for local users.

According to the typed report, the over 200 strong Mongpaw Zone People’s Drug Prevention Association was formed on 17 August led by Nang Hsoi, Roi Ja, Esther and Nang Awn. Backed by the Mongpaw People’s Militia Force (PMF), the campaign was launched 3 days later in Manpiang village.

Mongpaw in 1987 (Map: Bertil Lintner)

“Until the end of September, we have raided 42 houses, taken action on 29 persons, and seized 9 ½  bottles of heroin and 269 pills of yaba (methamphetamine),” read the report.

The campaign, it says, is important, because at least one in each of the 2,668 households (population: 10,755) is using drugs. “There are 620 high school students with 30 teachers, and we are worried about them being under constant exposure to widespread drug abuse in the area,” one of the committee members is quoted as saying.

Moreover, the area has been growing opium poppies since 1980, while it was still under the control of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB). Government forces wrested it back in a bloody offensive in 1987, but it had done nothing to stop the rising opium production.

Keng Mai, head of the Mongpaw PMF and elected MP for the Shan State Assembly, has been named as one of the 9 druglords in the 3-tiered legislature established early last year.

A businessman from Lashio, meanwhile, remarked, “The campaign, we must understand, is not against drug production and exporting. It is only to prevent local people from buying, selling and using it. Under present circumstances, this is only thing they can do.”

A Shan politician in Shan State South agrees. “If you don’t grow opium,” he asked rhetorically, “you won’t have enough to eat. Everything else you grow are taken by the Army, the PMFs and the resistance.”


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