Business as usual for Drug Traffickers, they pay the police, the authorities and the Border guards and the Drugs keep on coming!
Opium and heroin base produced in northeastern Myanmar are transported by horse and donkey caravans to refineries along the Thailand–Burma border for conversion to heroin and heroin base. Most of the finished products are shipped across the border into various towns in North Thailand and down to Bangkok for further distribution to international markets. In the past major Thai Chinese and Burmese Chinese traffickers in Bangkok have controlled much of the foreign sales and movement of Southeast Asian heroine from Thailand, but a combination of law enforcement pressure, publicity and a regional drought has significantly reduced their role. As a result, many less-predominant traffickers in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand now control smaller quantities of the heroin going to international markets.
Heroin from Southeast Asia is most frequently brought to the United States by couriers, typically Thai and U.S. nationals, travelling on commercial airlines. California and Hawaii are the primary U.S. entry points for Golden Triangle heroin, but small percentages of the drug are trafficked into New York City and Washington, D.C. While Southeast Asian groups have had success in trafficking heroin to the United States, they initially had difficulty arranging street level distribution. However, with the incarceration of Asian traffickers in American prisons during the 1940s, contacts between Asian and American prisoners developed. These contacts have allowed Southeast Asian traffickers access to gangs and organizations distributing heroin at the retail level.
The Chinese muslim Panthay are the same ethnic group as the muslims among the Chinese Chin Haw, both are descendants of Chinese Hui muslim immigrants from Yunnan province in China. They often work with each other in the Golden Triangle Drug Trade. Both Chinese muslim and non muslim Jeen Haw and Panthay are known to be members of Triad secret societies, working with other Chinese groups in Thailand like the TeoChiew and Hakka and the 14K Triad. They engaged in the heroin trade. Ma Hseuh-fu, from Yunnan province, was one of the most prominent Jeen Haw heroin drug lords, his other professions included trading in tea and a hotelier.
A Panthay from Burma, Ma Zhengwen, assisted the Han chinese drug lord Khun Sa in selling his heroin in north Thailand. The Panthay monopolized Opium trafficking in Burma. They also created secret drug routes to reach the international market with contacts to smuggle drugs from Burma via south China.
Methamphetamine is Asia’s favorite high. Its popularity is a symptom of the region’s astonishing economic growth. This new prosperity has liberalized trade, reduced transportation costs, accelerated the movement of people and products, and created a vast middle class with cash to burn. All this has helped traffickers shift their product to millions of fresh consumers.
Methamphetamine can be eaten, smoked, snorted or injected. It boosts energy, self-esteem and sexual pleasure, but can also cause paranoia and aggression. It is highly addictive: withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, anxiety and long-term depression. That addiction is difficult to treat, partly because the drug’s popularity straddles social and economic divides, town and country, work and leisure. The same drug that helps laborers endure backbreaking work in the fields allows affluent urbanites to party till dawn.
Golden Triangle traffickers began favoring Laos after the Thai government’s brutal “war on drugs” in 2003 killed thousands of people and disrupted smuggling routes between Burma and Thailand. An alternative route lay through northern Laos, where a network of roads was being constructed to link the booming economies of Thailand and China. Roads once impassable in the rainy season are now plied year-round by hundreds of vehicles carrying untold millions of pills. In February 2010, police there arrested four men with 21million yaba tablets — the largest-ever seizure of the drug in Laos.
Wherever you go — Laotian villages, Thai construction sites, nightclubs in Shanghai, Tokyo or Dhaka — methamphetamine is as easy to buy as a bowl of noodles. Amphetamine-type
stimulants, which include yaba and Ecstasy-group substances such as MDMA and ketamine, are becoming first-choice drugs in mainland China, Taiwan, Japan and Southeast Asia, reported the UNODC in December 2010. In Thailand, 4 out of 5 drug users who received treatment in 2009 were treated for yaba.
The Drug trade is rampant through-out South East Asia and it is thriving in Thailand. Yes, raids are made by the Thai authorities and the spoils are shown on TV, but this is mostly show. The real business of Drug dealing is growing and even though, the Government likes to say the economy is booming, the fact is so is the Drug Business.
- Many agree, none act: to ease untold misery, legalise drugs | Peter Wilby (guardian.co.uk)
- Why it’s so hard to win the war against US oxycodone epidemic (csmonitor.com)
- Mary Ann Sieghart: A ‘war’ we should fight no longer (independent.co.uk)