Khun Sa dies at 74, onetime Golden Triangle drug lord
Khun Sa, son of a Chinese father and a Shan mother, once was the leading drug lord in the so-called Golden Triangle where Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand meet. At that time the USA offered a multi-million dollar award for his capture. Khun Sa claimed to be leading a liberation army on behalf of the oppressed ethnic Shan minority. When he died recently at age 74, he was living peacefully at Yangon, the Myanmar capital, as part of some sort of a deal with the military junta that ruled there.
Opium: from the golden triangle to the golden crescent
Three decades ago 70% of the world's opium was grown in the so-called golden triangle, upland districts of Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand. Now, partly because of pressure from China where recently much of the heroin has been sold, the golden triangle is responsible for no more than 5%. Today opium is mostly (92% of the world's production) grown in the golden crescent, southern Afghanistan, with the total world production perhaps doubled. For more, see here.
Sea of pink and white
The mountains of northern Laos have changed colour. In the past five years, the opium poppy fields that for the last two centuries lent splashes of colour to the pervading green of the jungle have become a thing of the past.
In their stead, small plantations of tea, peach trees and even asparagus are springing up in the heart of the “Golden Triangle”, the lawless opium-producing region at the junction of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
The Khaleej Times reports.
Legal prescription drugs are being trafficked illegally over the internet, the UN's anti-drugs body has warned. The BBC reports.
Posted by Cynthia on March 1, 2006 at 12:05 PM in Africa, Austria, Bolivia, Canada, Cannabis, Coca Leaf, Colombia, Heroin, India, Laos, Methamphetamine, Mexico, Nepal, Opium, Peru, Prescription Drugs, United States | Permalink
UN hails the country that went cold turkey on opium
Since doctors confiscated Kua Ya’s pipe in February the septuagenarian grandmother has been forced to stop using opium. She used to smoke six pipes a night, to help her to sleep and ease her aches. At the same time officials pulled up poppy plants growing on the hillsides of her village in northern Laos, part of a Communist Party programme to eradicate the drug by next year.
They have been largely successful. The UN says that Laos, from being the world’s third biggest source of opium, has reduced poppy production by 73 per cent in the past five years. This has won the Government plaudits, notably from the US.
At the same time officials pulled up poppy plants growing on the hillsides of her village in northern Laos, part of a Communist Party programme to eradicate the drug by next year.
Find the full story at The Times here.
Opium in South-East Asia (article)
Foster, Anne L. “Prohibition as Superiority: Policing Opium in South-East Asia, 1898-1925.” The International History Review 22:2 (2000), 253-273.
Track marks to death
The Australian reports (3 March 2005) that what began as a journey designed to end in the back alleys of inner-city Sydney - high-grade heroin cut down and shelled out to hollowed-eyed men and women for $50 a cap - finished instead in a blaze of publicity at Denpasar International Airport in the tourist centre of Bali, with nine young Australians facing the prospect of the firing squad.
But while the "Bali Nine" never got off the ground for the final leg to Sydney, the 8.3kg of heroin strapped to the stomachs and thighs of four couriers had already travelled thousands of kilometres and passed through hundreds of hands.
Like most heroin trafficking that originates in poppy fields in the fertile mountains of Southeast Asia, the journey that finished on the body of a mule began on the back of a donkey. Australian Federal Police chief Mick Keelty named Burma, part of the infamous Golden Triangle encompassing Laos and northern Thailand, as the origin of the Bali Nine's haul. The University of NSW's National Alcohol and Drug Research Centre's senior lecturer, Louisa Degenhardt, estimates 95 per cent of Australia's heroin is produced in the Golden Triangle - and the "vast majority" of that is from Burma.
With Australians unable to cultivate opium poppies at home, but consuming three to eight tonnes of heroin annually, this has been the case for many years, Dr Degenhardt says.
Find the full story here.
Asparagus is winning battle against opium
The Telegraph reports (4 March 2005) that there are no poppy pods in bloom in one of the poorest districts of Laos this year because the growers have turned to asparagus and sweet plums. Find the full story here.
Drug smuggler killed in Laos border clash
MCOT.org reports (23 February 2005) that Thai troops shot dead an armed drug smuggler during a clash with a gang trying to cross the Mekong River from neighbouring Laos, a military official said Wednesday. Find the full story here.
Gulnoza Saidazimova, in a report for Radio Free Europe carried by the Asia Times Online, reports on the current state of Afghanistan's opium production and its influence on Central Asian countries.