Following a 5-day bi-annual meeting which ended yesterday, the Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) is embarking on a massive clampdown on drugs, according to reliable sources on the Sino-Burmese border this morning.
“We are targeting 5 categories of offenders: growers, producers, users, dealers and transporters,” said a Mongla official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Beginning today, NDAA officials are going from house to house, warning people not to engage in drugs “in any of the 5 ways” and demanding signatures under a pledge to stay away from them.
Mongla, that concluded a new ceasefire agreement with Naypyitaw on 7 September 2011, has an area of 4,952 sq.km and a population of 85,000. Its leader Sai Leun aka Lin Mingxian, 66, was once named a druglord. His name was withdrawn from the US blacklist in 2000, 3 years after he declared Mongla poppy-free.
The last time it came on the headline was on 28 June, when Mongla was listed together with the United Wa State Army’s Hong Pang Company and Zhao Wei, owner of Kings Romans casino on the Laotian side of the Golden Triangle, by Thailand. (Sources in Shan State East told SHAN in May that Hong Pang has officially changed its name to Thawda Win.)
Mongla officials had firmly denied the charge, saying they had, since 1997, cooperated with the international drug enforcement agencies, especially with China. The joint Sino-Mongla seizure of a 12 ton precursor chemicals used for manufacturing narcotic drugs on 30 November 2011 on the Mekong was reported by ASTV Manager Online on 8 December.
A Thai security official commented that it would be difficult for Mongla to present itself as an entirely blameless entity, as it is operating casinos, known as clearing houses for drug dealers, in its territory. Moreover, it is allied to the UWSA and Kokang group both of which have yet to shed their drug reputation.
The UWSA’s Mongpawk-based 418th Brigade, commanded by Li Ai-su, has also been operating in the Mongla territory.
Drug dealers are sentenced to 5 year imprisonment upwards and drug users 6 month rehabilitation in confinement for first time offense, according to Mongla. “For second time offense, it is increased to 1 year. The third time offenders however will be expelled from the territory.”
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