Olive Yang

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Olive Yang
Born(1927-06-24)24 June 1927[1]
Died13 July 2017(2017-07-13) (aged 90)
Other namesYang Kyin Hsiu (Yang Jinxiu)
EducationGuardian Angel's Convent School
Known forOpium trafficking
Criminal charge(s)1962
Criminal penaltyPrison
Criminal statusReleased (1968)
Spouse(s)Twan Sao Wen (1948-1950)[2]
ChildrenDuan Jipu (段吉卜)[2]

Olive Yang (Chinese: 楊金秀; pinyin: Yáng Jīnxiù; also known as Yang Kyin Hsiu, nicknamed Miss Hairy Legs) was a prominent opium warlord and the sister of Sao Edward Yang Kyein Tsai, the saopha (chief) of Kokang, a state in post-independent Burma from 1949 to 1959.


Olive Yang was born on 24 June 1927 in northern Shan States, British Burma. She received an education at Lashio's Guardian Angel's Convent School.[3] At the age of 19, she organized ethnic Kokang forces, nicknamed the Olive's Boys, an army of over a thousand soldiers and consolidated control of opium trade routes from the highlands to lowlands.[4] She dominated Kokang's opium trade from the end of World War II to the early 1960s.[5] In the 1950s, after the Nationalist defeat and their subsequent expulsion from mainland China, she partnered with the Kuomintang to establish opium trade routes along the Golden Triangle (Southeast Asia).[6]

From 1948 to 1950, she was married to Twan Sao Wen, the son of Tamaing's chieftain, and had a son, Duan Jipu (段吉卜), in 1950.[2] Her son is a teacher in Chiang Mai, Thailand.[1]

From the 1950s to the mid-1960s, she was the commander of the Kokang Kakweye (People's Defense Forces).[7] She was a prominent figure in opium trafficking and gold trading.[7] She was arrested in 1962, along with her brother Jimmy, a member of parliament in Yangon, by Burmese authorities, to remove them from power and place Kokang territory under Burmese administration.[5][8] She was imprisoned at Insein Prison and released in 1968.[2]

Yang was known to be a bisexual woman who carried on affairs with film actresses and singers, including Wah Wah Win Shwe (ဝါဝါဝင်းရွှေ).[3][7] In the late 1980s, she was recruited by Khin Nyunt to help broker ceasefires in Burma with ethnic rebel groups.[9]

After her release, she reportedly spent her final years as a nun.[4] In 2003, after a period of chronic illness, she returned to Kokang, where she lived until her death at the age of 90.[10]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ a b c d Buyers, Christopher. "The Yang Dynasty". pp. July 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  3. ^ a b Thant Myint-U (8 January 2008). The River of Lost Footsteps. Macmillan. pp. 298–299.
  4. ^ a b Borgenicht, David; Turk Regan (2 April 2008). The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac. Chronicle Books. pp. 146. ISBN 9780811863216.
  5. ^ a b Chouvy, Pierre-Arnaud (2009). Opium: uncovering the politics of the poppy. Harvard University Press. pp. 24, . ISBN 9780674051348.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  6. ^ Lintner, Bertil (March 2000). "The Golden Triangle Opium Trade: An Overview" (PDF). Asia Pacific Media Services: 7. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ a b c Tzang, Yawnghwe (1987). The Shan of Burma: memoirs of a Shan exile. Institute of Southeast Asian. ISBN 9789971988623.
  8. ^ James, Helen (1 November 2006). Security and sustainable development in Myanmar. Psychology Press. p. 88. ISBN 9780415355599.
  9. ^ Thant Myint-U (13 September 2011). Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia. Macmillan. ISBN 9781466801271.
  10. ^ "Kokang 'Warlady' Olive Yang Dies at 91". The Irrawaddy. 2017-07-17. Retrieved 2017-07-17.