The Burmese laundry machine

The back story: Lo Hsing Han is one of the most vicious and profiteering drug warlords in all of history. He ran the Golden Triangle during the late 1960s and 1970s as the first “opium warlord,” killing and rampaging as he went. Among his many crimes, he still is wanted in Thailand for an infamous kidnapping and murder to spring himself from prison.

The Burmese regime during the 1990s allowed him to “retire” so long as he laundered his opium and heroin profits through the military dictators. Lo Hsing Han as a result became — and is today — Burma’s biggest businessman, if we can use that respectable term for a heroin dealer wanted on Interpol warrants for close to 40 years.

Lo has a son, Tun Myint Naing in Burmese, better known as Steven Law (“Law” being the English-language form of the Chinese name “Lo”). Law has been running the family business — if you catch our drift here — for a good long time. That’s his stylised photo, which appeared in the September, 2005, issue of the wonderful Irrawaddy magazine.

 Very helpful in the money side of the family business are authorities in Singapore, where Law spends a lot of time, a lot of money and where he found his wife Cecilia Ng.

This family had no legitimate funds when it began investing in Burma on contracts handed out by the military dictators. Using funds specifically and uniquely generated by sales of heroin around the world, Lo, Law and Mrs Ng have become probably the richest and certainly the most influential business people in Burma today.

Now, in 2008, the United States has put sanctions on Lo, Law and Ng as part of the overall punishment of the brutal Burmese dictators.

Unfortunately, the drug connection is barely mentioned in any wire service story on the new sanctions, even the official White House announcement.

Not to brag but the Bangkok Post version of this story at least fits in some of the background on this vicious regime’s marriage of convenience with this vicious drug dealer and his offspring, who try to pass in decent society around Southeast Asia as respectable people, when they are not.

Even inside Singapore, this is not a popular policy.


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