Wei Hsueh-kang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wei Hsueh-kang
Wei Hsueh-Kang.jpg
Born (1952-05-29) 29 May 1952 (age 65)
Yunnan, China
Political party United Wa State Party

Wei Hsueh-kang (simplified Chinese: 魏学刚; traditional Chinese: 魏學剛; pinyin: Wèi Xuégāng; Wade–Giles: Wei Hsüeh-kang; Thai: ไท่เซิง แซ่เว่ย; rtgsThaisoeng Sae-woei,[1] born 29 May 1952)[2] also known as Prasit Cheewinnitipanya (Thai: ประสิทธิ์ ชีวินนิติปัญญา; rtgsPrasit Chiwinnitipanya) or Charnchai Cheevinnitipanya (Thai: ชาญชัย ชีวินนิติปัญญา; rtgsChanchai Chiwinnitipanya) and Suchat Phanloetkun (Thai: สุชาติ พันธุ์เลิศกุล),[3] is a military commander of the United Wa State Army. He has been accused of illegally trafficking drugs in Wa State (an unrecognized state in Myanmar), in the US, and through Myanmar's border with China.[4]

Following the 2015 jade mine disaster in Hpakant, Kachin State, Wei Hsueh-kang was accused of exploiting locals and illegally funding mining operations in the area. This claim however, could not be verified or denied by Wei himself, as he was still in hiding.[5]

Insurgency career[edit]

Originally a member of Khun Sa’s Mong Tai Army (MTA), Wei Hsueh-kang was one of the original founders of the UWSA in 1989, following the collapse of the armed wing of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) in 1988.

Narcotics trafficker[edit]

Wei Hsueh-kang was believed to have remained closely associated with Khun Sa after he left the MTA, especially during the height of opium production in the Golden Triangle, and remains wanted by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs for drug offences committed within the United States; offering a $2 million reward for information leading to his capture and arrest.[6] He is currently believed to be in Myanmar, probably within UWSA controlled territory of Wa State.

Although Wei Hsueh-kang was granted Thai citizenship in 1985, three years later in 1988, he was facing a sentence of life imprisonment by the Thai Government.[7] He jumped bail however, and his Thai nationality was later revoked in 2001.[8][9]

Wei Hsueh-kang has since downsized his involvement in drug trafficking, partly in response to his wanted status by the US. However, his affiliation with the UWSA reinforced doubts about the extent of his involvement in drug trafficking.

Entrepreneurship[edit]

In 1998, Wei Hsueh-kang founded the Hong Pang Group with money from the drug trade, and money from taking advantage of the privileges offered in the ceasefire deal by General Khin Nyunt. Its position in the country's economy, not just the Wa State, is reflected by a multitude of businesses it owns and controls in construction, agriculture, gems and minerals, petroleum, electronics and communications, distilleries, and department stores. Hong Pang Group is based at Panghsang with offices also in Yangon, Mandalay, Lashio, Tachilek and Mawlamyine.[10]

A fire in Panghsang on 18 April 2009, destroyed the largest petrol station and over 10,000 tons of teak in a warehouse, both belonging to Wei Hsueh-kang.[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]