Let it be Known and Heard with Evidence

Local media outlets surviving with foreign supports and the external media agencies with pessimistic views are describing fake news and misinformation on the current political developments in Myanmar. It is also seen that some western diplomatic communities and UN agencies are one-sided statements based on such fake news reports.

It is obvious that most of their statements with political objectives are intentionally to disrupt the current situation of Myanmar breaching the media ethics and diplomatic ethics without taking referencing the news reports and information released by State government and relevant departments.

Fake news and narcotic drugs issue

          Particularly, the said actors are exerting all-round efforts to pressure the State Administration Council temporarily assuming the State’s responsibilities in conformity with law. In this regard, a statement was found on the Facebook page of U.S Embassy Rangoon one-sidedly blamed on the incumbent government of Myanmar by using the apolitical matter of drug issue. The statement portrayed the current political situation of Myanmar as if it worsen the production of illicit narcotics in the country taking reference of the report of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime- UNODC.

          In reality, the report of UNODC described that the drugs trade did not fall despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the crime groups expend their narcotic drug markets in the region. The report is primarily based on the data of 2020 without any description related to the political affairs of Myanmar. It was also found that the report described the anti-narcotic drug measures of Myanmar government and seizures of the drugs with evidence.

          Moreover, the photo used in the statement of the U.S Embassy was totally not related to UNODC and just the photo of the post described by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)-Myanmar on its twitter page. As the post was described by using such misinformation, objection comments of Myanmar people appeared below the post and the photo was later changed. Hence, the statement of the U.S Embassy on its Facebook page was just a one-sided accusation using wrong and inaccurate information by burying their heads in the sand about the anti-narcotic drugs measures of the State Administration Council. 

          Similarly, some renowned media agencies are also expressing fake news exaggerating and highlighting only what they want by ignoring the government’s efforts to eradicate narcotic drugs in the time of the State Administration Council. It is also observed that most of such descriptions have certain intentions to add more complexities in the current political situations, to bring pessimistic altitudes from international communities towards Myanmar. To be frank, they are waging information and media war against Myanmar.

Anti-narcotic drug measures during the term of the State Administration Council

          The successive administrations of Myanmar despite practicing various kinds of political systems have combatted against narcotic drugs of common enemy as a national duty. At present, the State Administration Council also continues the effective anti-narcotic measures. Due to the relentless efforts of the Council, from 1 February 2021 since the Council has assumed the State’s responsibilities to 30 June, 1,043.052 kg of heroin, 765.416 kg of raw opium, 103.23 kg of black opium, 28.761 kg of marijuana, 99,474,830 stimulant pills, 6,396.374 kg of ICE and 40,721.566 kg of other related items, total worth of over K317.09 billion (US$193.1 million). The detailed seizures are shown in the follow table.

Narcotic Drugs Seized from 1 February to 30 June 2021



Seizures by the Tatmadaw

Seizures by Myanmar Police Force

Total Seizures


Heroin (kg)





Raw opium (kg)





Black opium (kg)





Marijuana (kg)





Stimulant pills (tablet)





ICE (kg)





Other related items (kg)




Worth (MMK)




Worth (US $)

171.29 millions

21.847 millions

193.1 millions

          The seizures have proved the relentless efforts of the State Administration Council to eradicate narcotic drugs, the common enemy of mankind, which is apolitical. On the other hand, it is sadly found out that some western powerful countries are still not able to see the truth and one-sidedly blaming on the State Administration Council by neglecting its efforts to eradicate the narcotic drugs in its short term.

          Regarding the narcotic drugs eradication, a distinct act of the State Administration Council was exposed to the world on 26 June. To mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Council simultaneously held the ceremonies of burning down the seized narcotic drugs in Yangon, Mandalay and Taunggyi. The drugs burnt down included over 3,870 kg of raw opium, 2,562 kg of heroin, over 224 millions of stimulant tablets, 14,080 kg of ICE, over 739 kg of marijuana, over 289 kg of ketamine, 12.5 tons of caffeine, other illegal drugs and 62 types of chemical substances totalling in K1,068 billion (over US$ 667 million). The ceremonies were attended not only by the governmental officials but also by international organizations and news reports were also released in timely manner. Although the true news reports have been released to let them be known and heard, such irregular blamings can be deemed as dishonest manners.

Internal armed conflict and illicit drug economy

          Regarding the current political situations, the news reports and contents to impose all-round sanctions on Myanmar have appeared again in the global political arena. Looking back the history, it was obvious that such sanctions hindered the economic development of the State and led to only the plights of the common people. All countries and UN have already known that such means did not work for the democratization process of Myanmar and its development as well.

          When the economic sanctions add the current armed conflicts and the existence of a number of armed organizations in Myanmar, its implications inflict considerable damages to the socio-economic conditions of border regions. Consequently, businesses of producing synthetic drugs which can generate a lot of money in a short time become primary income sources of Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) for their survival and arming. The drug-related businesses are one of the reasons for holding their arms. 

          Hence, one of the root causes of the narcotic drug issue in Myanmar is the direct or indirect involvement of EAOs in producing and distributing narcotic drugs as the important source of their primary incomes for their survival.

          Despites superficial activities of EAOs on anti-narcotic drugs, in reality, according to the evidence of seizures, they have largely involved in drugs production and distribution behind the curtain.

          Although the EAOs heavily depended on the opium cultivation and heroin production in the past, there appears a shift toward synthetic drugs, which unlike opium crops do not require labor-intensive cultivation and time and also easier to be produced and generate money. Especially, they largely dealt in crystal meth like amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and ICE.

          Such manufacturing places of illicit drugs are found in the areas of EAOs with strict security guards where common civilians are not allowed to enter. In other words, EAOs have dealt in the illicit drugs in various means in their areas of freedom where the government administration cannot reach.

          Tatmadaw and Myanmar Police Force have made many raids on such drug manufacturing places as operations after gathering information. It is also observed that the EAOs primarily produce narcotic drugs in their areas and smuggle them to different places using local ethnic people and members of people militia. Moreover, they also carry out trading the illicit drugs with arms, money laundering, investing the money generated from drug economy in legal businesses by contacting with international crime groups. Therefore, the narcotic drugs pose as a serious challenge to the peace process of the Nation since it largely contribute to lingering survival of EAOs and the internal conflicts.

          Thus, in light of eradicating narcotic drugs the danger of entire mankind and the end of internal armed conflicts, the Tatmadaw has continuously emphasized on combating the illicit drugs with the effective cooperation of Myanmar Police Force.

Some confiscation cases

Among the measures, I would like to highlight some cases of confiscated drugs trafficked from the areas of EAOs during the term of State Administration Council.

In April 2021, 7,600,000 WY-inscribed stimulant tablets (estimated worth of K 11.4 billions) carrying from Mong Nai town to Myawadi town were confiscated at (7) Mile security check point at Taungoo town.

On 9 May 2021, 6.9 million WY-inscribed stimulant tablets (estimated worth of K 10.35 billions) carrying from Kyauktalone township of Shan state hiding in the onion/garlic/green tea bags,  were confiscated at combined security check point near Leik Tho town of Thandanggyi township.

On 8 June 2021, 1554 blocks of heroin (893.9 kg), 650 grams of heroin, 1.832 millions of stimulant tablets and 1.6 kg of ICE stimulant drugs, total estimated worth of K 14.36 billions were confiscated along with small arms in Parsat ward of Tarchileik town.

Moreover, on 18 June 2021, 1710 kg of ICE stimulant drugs (estimated worth of K 34.2 billions) were also confiscated along with small arms on the Tarchileik-Keng Tung road near Tarkyauk village. It was found out that Aik San, member of  UWSA provided money to buy a Dump Truck (4x2 wheeler) for carrying the drugs. Drugs were reportedly carried from a place 13 miles away from KengTung town.

There was also a case of seizure on 20 June. 1580 kg of QING SHAN-inscribed ICE stimulant drugs (estimated worth of K 39.5 billions) were confiscated between Mayanchaung village and Inngapu village of Kyaikto town.

On 27 June 2021, Naval Vassal (BaYintNaung) seized 1500 kg of ICE stimulant drugs wrapped in packages (1kg per each) with the label of ‘GUAN YIN WANG’ and ‘Refined Chinese Tea’ (estimated worth of K 37.5 billions) from a boat named “Thu Kha San” in Myanmar waters near Myanmar-India maritime border along with seven offenders.

The seizures show that the synthetic drugs were manufactured in the ethnic areas dominated by EAOs. In reality, as the danger of narcotic drugs is the challenge not only concerned with Myanmar but also for all mankind, the State Administration Council is conscientiously combating against the illicit drugs in offensive manner as frontline force.

Cooperation of Myanmar with international communities

          Since the danger of drug is the common enemy of all mankind, the need of all countries to cooperate in eradicating the drug trafficking is the ultimate truth. In this regard, Myanmar is actively cooperating with international communities in combating the illicit drugs. United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control (UNFDAC) has opened at Yangon Since 1976 and cooperated with Central Committee for Drugs Abuse Control (CCDAC). Also, Myanmar has cooperated with UNODC for the development projects in “Wa” autonomous region since 1994.

          Opium cultivation annual report has been released with the cooperation of CCDAC and UNODC since 2001. Drug user survey was conducted in 15 regions/states in 2016. Socio-economic survey was also conducted with the cooperation of CCDAC and UNODC at southern and eastern Shan state in 2019. UNDOC provided financial and technical assistance for the measures.

          Myanmar has already signed bilateral cooperation agreements on combating narcotic drugs with US, Russia and Korea and also been cooperating with ASEAN countries.

          In the ASEAN framework, Myanmar has actively participated in ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters (AMMD), ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD), ASEAN Airport Interdiction Task Force (AAITF), ASEAN Seaport Interdiction Task Force (ASITF) and ASEAN Drug Monitoring Network (ADMN). Implementing the ASEAN Work Plan 2016-2025, as the Golden Triangle region remain critical spot for illicit drug production, the five ASEAN member states of Mekong region also implemented the ‘ASEAN Cooperation Plan to Tackle Illicit Drug Production and Trafficking in the Golden Triangle (2017-2019)’.

          Regarding the measures of anti-narcotic drugs, Myanmar has actively participated in cooperation with BIMSTEC and the countries singing the Mekong Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Drug Control. Moreover, Myanmar has also actively conducted measures to eradicate anti-narcotic drugs by opening border liaison offices after signing agreements and MoUs on drug control with its neighbours China, India and Thailand.

          World countries and international communities should support and encourage the measures of combating illicit drugs regardless of political situations and the government. Instead, propagandizing with fabrications on the illicit drug issue with a political aim, and the instigating to cause civil unrests using social media platforms are the unacceptable acts. I also assume that using the drug issue for propaganda to build up pressures on the political situation of a country by a certain major power via the official Facebook page of its embassy is totally inappropriate.

          Eradication of illicit drugs has represented a great challenge to the successive governments of Myanmar. In any case of drug production and smuggling, the State Administrative Council will certainly take strong action against any organization or individual in line with law for the sake of the prestige of the State with no tolerance. Besides the matters of drug production and smuggling, laundering the money generated from such businesses are also regarded as the transnational crimes and effectively being addressed with the cooperation of international organizations. That is the firm policy of the State Administration Council for the eradication illicit drugs.

          For effective control of the illicit drug issue in Myanmar, some powerful countries should emphasize on the positive cooperation after rationally considering the politics and security situation of Myanmar rather than exploiting the issue for propaganda. Against the backdrop of this situation, I write this article on the eradication of illicit drugs in Myanmar to let it to be known and heard with evidence.

Aung Shinn