Lo Hsing Han
Lo Hsing Han
羅星漢 (Luó Xīnghàn) or လော်စစ်ဟန်
|Born||25 September 1935|
|Died||6 July 2013[note 1] (aged 77)|
|Residence||20-23 Masoeyein Kyaung Street, Mayangon Township, Yangon|
|Known for||Major Southeast Asian drug lord, Entrepreneur of Asia World|
|Criminal charge||Drug trafficking (1973)|
|Criminal penalty||Life imprisonment|
|Criminal status||Commuted (1980)|
|Spouse(s)||Zhang Xiaowan (张小菀)|
|Family||Lo Hsing-min (brother)|
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-Chinese. His spouse, Zhang Xiaowen, is a Chinese citizen and native of Gengma County in Yunnan.
Rise and fall
Lo was born poor in Kokang district. Lo Hsing Han reportedly started his opium-trafficking career as chief of a local militia called Ka Kwe Ye (KKY) set up with the encouragement of General Ne Win to fight the Communists. By the early 1970s he was an important figure in the Asian drug trade, particularly in the trafficking of 'China White' heroin. In August 1973, he was arrested in Thailand and handed over to the Burmese government. 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 during a General Amnesty.
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.
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. 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.
According to a report in The Observer, he helped organize and finance the opulent 2006 wedding of the daughter of the Burmese dictator Than Shwe. A video was leaked onto the internet, showing a well-fed Thandar Shwe, perspiring under the weight of diamond-encrusted necklaces and hairbands and swathed in yards of silk as plump junta members sat on gold-trimmed chairs in front of a five-tiered wedding cake and champagne.
Asia World Company is involved in a number of big 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.
Lo, heroin king and business tycoon, died on 6 July 2013, in Yangon, Myanmar. He was 80 [note 1] and is survived by his wife, four sons, four daughters and 16 grandchildren, leaving them behind with a vast sum of wealth.  In the secretive world of Myanmar’s elite, the extent of Mr. Lo’s wealth is not known. In an interview, a man often described as the richest person in Myanmar, U Tay Za, said the Lo family surpassed him in wealth.
Mr. Lo and his son, Steven Law, were two of the military’s most important business partners and were awarded contracts to build roads, provincial seaports and other large infrastructure projects.
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- 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
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|deadurl=(help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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- "Singapore's hand in Golden Triangle" by Michael McKenna at Singapore-window.org, November 23, 2005