29 May 1952 |
|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; rtgs: Thaisoeng Sae-woei, born 29 May 1952) also known as Prasit Cheewinnitipanya (Thai: ประสิทธิ์ ชีวินนิติปัญญา; rtgs: Prasit Chiwinnitipanya) or Charnchai Cheevinnitipanya (Thai: ชาญชัย ชีวินนิติปัญญา; rtgs: Chanchai Chiwinnitipanya) and Suchat Phanloetkun (Thai: สุชาติ พันธุ์เลิศกุล), 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.
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.
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.
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. 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. He jumped bail however, and his Thai nationality was later revoked in 2001.
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.
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.
- "ประกาศกระทรวงมหาดไทย เรื่อง การถอนสัญชาติไทย [นายประสิทธิ์ หรือ ชาญชัย ชีวินนิติปัญญา หรือ เหว่ย เซียะกัง หรือ เว่ย เซียะ กัง หรือหวุ่ย แซว กัง หรือไท่เซิง แซ่เว่ย (Wei Hseh -Kang)]" (in Thai). Legislative Institutional Repository of Thailand. 12 April 1999. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- "เทคนิคปลอมบัตรประชาชน" (in Thai). Komchadluek. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
- Min Lwin. "Wa Businessman Flees Drug Charges". The Irrawaddy, February 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- Martov, Seamus (4 December 2015). "Wa Tycoon’s Jade Ties Exposed in New Report". The Irrawaddy. The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- Wai Moe. "Wa Army to Celebrate 20th Anniversary". The Irrawaddy, April 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- Show business
- Thai government revokes nationality of alleged drug smuggler (article is located in the middle of page
- Thai Police Seize 2.3 Mln Dollars Worth of Asset of Fugitive Drug Lord
- "The Hong Pang Group". Bangkok Post. July 6, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- "Fire in Panghsang". Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.). 19 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-19.