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]
Died6 July 2013(2013-07-06) (aged 77)[note 1]
Residence20-23 Masoeyein Kyaung Street, Mayangon Township, Yangon[3]
Known forMajor Southeast Asian drug lord, Entrepreneur of Asia World
Criminal chargeDrug trafficking (1973)[4]
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment[4]
Criminal statusCommuted (1980)[4]
Spouse(s)Zhang Xiaowan (张小菀)[5]
ChildrenSteven Law
FamilyLo 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-Chinese.[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 Hsing Han 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 during a General Amnesty.[9]


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 and finance the opulent 2006 wedding of the daughter of the Burmese dictator Than Shwe.[13] 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.[14]


Lo, heroin king and business tycoon, 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, leaving them behind with a vast sum of wealth.[16] [17] 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.


  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.


  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. Archived from the original on 3 March 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  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). Archived from the original on 2 July 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ Anthony Davis and Bruce Hawke. "Business is Blooming". Asiaweek, January 23, 1997 Vol.24 No.3. Retrieved 2009-01-11. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  7. ^ https://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" (PDF). 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. Archived from the original on 2010-09-20. Retrieved 2009-01-10. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ Wai Moe. "More Junta Cronies Hit By US Sanctions". The Irrawaddy, February 26, 2008. Archived from the original on February 27, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-10. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  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. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2014-01-07. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  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.
  17. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/world/asia/lo-hsing-han-wealthy-trafficker-from-myanmar-dies-at-80.html

External links[edit]