Lo Hsing Han

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Lo Hsing Han
Native name 羅星漢 (Luó Xīnghàn) or လော်စစ်ဟန်
Born (1935-09-25)25 September 1935[1]
Kokang District, Scheduled Areas (now Shan State), Burma[2]
Died 6 July 2013(2013-07-06) (aged 77)[note 1]
Yangon, Myanmar
Residence 20-23 Masoeyein Kyaung Street, Mayangon Township, Yangon[3]
Nationality Burmese
Known for Major Southeast Asian drug lord, Entrepreneur of Asia World
Criminal charge
Drug trafficking (1973)[4]
Criminal penalty
Life imprisonment[4]
Criminal status
Commuted (1980)[4]
Spouse(s) Zhang Xiaowan (张小菀)[5]
Children Steven Law
Family Lo Hsing-min (brother)[4]

Lo Hsing Han or Law Sit Han (Burmese: လော်စစ်ဟန်, IPA: [lɔ̀ sɪʔ hàɴ]; simplified Chinese: 罗星汉; traditional Chinese: 羅星漢; pinyin: Luó Xīnghàn; ca. 1930s – July 6, 2013) was a Burmese drug trafficker and became a major Burmese business tycoon, with financial ties to Singapore. He was an ethnic Kokang.[6] His spouse, Zhang Xiaowen, is a Chinese citizen and native of Gengma County in Yunnan.[5]

Rise and fall[edit]

Lo was born poor in Kokang district.[7] Lo reportedly started his opium-trafficking career as chief of a local militia called Ka Kwe Ye (KKY)[8] set up with the encouragement of General Ne Win to fight the Communists.[9] By the early 1970s he was an important figure in the Asian drug trade, particularly in the trafficking of 'China White' heroin.[3] In August 1973, he was arrested in Thailand and handed over to the Burmese government.[10] He was sentenced to death for treason on the grounds of his brief association with the insurgent Shan State Army (SSA). He was released in the 1980 General Amnesty.[9]

Comeback[edit]

When the Kokang and Wa insurgent troops mutinied and toppled the Communist leadership in 1989, military intelligence chief Khin Nyunt found in Lo a useful intermediary in quickly arranging cease-fire agreements and, in return, Lo was given lucrative business opportunities and unofficial permission to run drugs with impunity along with the mutineers. He wasted no time in rebuilding the drug empire he lost 15 years ago to Khun Sa, a rival KKY chief of Loi Maw. No fewer than 17 new heroin refineries were located within a year in Kokang State and adjacent areas.[9]

Leading entrepreneur[edit]

In June 1992, he founded the Asia World Company, allegedly as a front for his drug operations. His son, Steven Law (aka Tun Myint Naing), married to Cecilia Ng of Singapore in 1996, runs the company which won many multimillion-dollar contracts in the construction and energy sectors.[9][11] In the wake of Cyclone Nargis, in February 2008, the US government included Lo, his son, and daughter-in-law, along with the 10 companies they control in Singapore, in its targeted sanctions list of the military junta's business cronies.[12]

According to a report in The Observer, he helped organize the opulent 2006 wedding of the daughter of the Burmese dictator Than Shwe.[13]

Asia World Company is involved in a number of mega projects such as a Sino-Burma oil and gas pipeline project, a deep sea port at Kyaukpyu, the controversial Myitsone hydro-power plant and the TaSang hydro-power plant. Companies of the Chinese government have investments in all of them. While Steven Law oversees the business interests in Myanmar, his other sons are based in Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan doing business. Steven Law accompanied Thein Sein during his first official foreign visit to China after inauguration as a civilian president.[14]

Death[edit]

Lo died on 6 July 2013, in Yangon, Myanmar.[15] He was 80 [note 1] and is survived by his wife, four sons, four daughters and 16 grandchildren.[16]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Irrawaddy Magazine gives 25 September 1935 as his birth date, and if so, he died at the age of 77 (or 78 per traditional Burmese age counting). But the obituary announcement by the family in local newspapers Myanmar Alin and Kyemon mentions that he died at the age of 80.

References[edit]

  1. ^ WENG, LAWI (17 July 2013). "A Funeral for ‘the Godfather of Heroine’". The irrawaddy. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Seng, Naw (February 2004). "Brothers-In-Peace". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Sweeney, John (7 April 2001). "How junta protects Mr Heroin". The Observer. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d Booth, Martin (25 May 1999). Opium: A History. Macmillan. pp. 298–300. ISBN 9780312206673. 
  5. ^ a b 赖骏. "悄然隐退的女毒王杨二小姐". 北京市禁毒委员会 (in Chinese). Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Anthony Davis and Bruce Hawke. "Business is Blooming". Asiaweek, January 23, 1997 Vol.24 No.3. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  7. ^ http://www.economist.com/news/obituary/21582234-lo-hsing-han-heroin-king-and-business-tycoon-died-july-6th-aged-about-80-lo-hsing-han Lo Hsing Han: Lo Hsing Han, heroin king and business tycoon, died on July 6th, aged about 80
  8. ^ Ka Kwe Ye means "defence" in Burmese, and is used as the name for regional defence forces. Smith, Martin (1991) Burma - Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity Zed Books, London, p. 221
  9. ^ a b c d Bertil Lintner. "The Golden Triangle Opium Trade: An Overview". Asia Pacific Media Services, March 2000. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  10. ^ Aye Aye Win (8 July 2013). "Man Dubbed ‘Godfather of Heroin’ Dies in Burma". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Tracking the Tycoons". The Irrawaddy, September, 2008 - Vol.16 No.9. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  12. ^ Wai Moe. "More Junta Cronies Hit By US Sanctions". The Irrawaddy, February 26, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  13. ^ Peter Beaumont and Alex Duval Smith (2007-10-07). "Drugs and astrology: how 'Bulldog' wields power". London: Guardian.co.uk, October 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  14. ^ http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=21748
  15. ^ Calderon, Justin (8 July 2013). "Myanmar’s ‘Godfather of Heroin’ dies, bounty on successor". Inside Investor. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "MAN DUBBED 'GODFATHER OF HEROIN' DIES IN MYANMAR". AP. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 

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