Daily News-April 28- 2001- Saturday

  • Burmese Dissidents Visit Seoul
  • Hijacked Panamanian Ship Docks at Calcutta Port
  • Battle escalating
  • Illegal gambling widespread in Burma
  • Workshop on e-Commerce Initiative in Myanmar held
  • The Strand Hotel celebrates its centennial

  • Burmese Dissidents Visit Seoul

    The Korea Times - April 27, 2001.

    Several Burmese dissidents will arrive in Seoul today to urge Korea to support the country's democracy movement. Five members of the Thai chapter of the National League for Democracy (NLD), will come to Korea for a week-long visit, Friends of Burma, a local civil organization advocating the rights of dissidents in that country, said yesterday.

    Lead by the renowned Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD was founded in 1988 to fight for democracy against the dictatorship of the Myanmar military regime. During their stay, the dissidents will hold a press conference with local civic groups to urge the Korean government to stop supporting the Myanmar military regime and back Burma's democratization movement through various diplomatic channels.

    In addition, they will press the government to grant refugee status to the 20 members of the Korean chapter of NLD. The Korean chapter was formed in 1999 by Burmese dissidents residing in Korea.

    The dissidents applied for refugee status in May of last year, claiming they will be prosecuted by their country's military regime if they are forced to return home. But the Justice Ministry has yet to grant them asylum.

    The Korean branch has engaged in active movements to support Burma's fight for freedom, such as staging rallies in front of the Myanmar Embassy and working with local civic groups to publicize the dire human rights situation in their country.
    Hijacked Panamanian Ship Docks at Calcutta Port

    By Himangshu Watts

    CALCUTTA, India (Reuters) - A Panamanian ship docked safely at Calcutta on Friday a day after it was hijacked near the port by an armed group, officials said. The ship, named Jubilee, with 23 people aboard, was carrying 4,482 tons of logs from Rangoon to Calcutta when a group of more than 200 people in boats forced it to stop 44 miles short of Calcutta port on Thursday afternoon.

    ``They were local miscreants who wanted the ship to unload its cargo on the riverside so that local people got employment,'' Calcutta Port Trust spokesman B.K. Sahu said.A state government official, who asked not to be identified, said the hijackers were not criminals but misled youths seeking employment. ``This was an insane form of trade-unionism.''

    The deputy marine director of the Calcutta Port Trust, T.K. Das Chaudhury, said, ``more than 200 people had boarded the ship and taken away the captain yesterday (Thursday).''The captain of a pilot vessel sent by the port to guide the ship in was also kidnapped but later rescued.

    The hijacked ship's weary captain, Htun Win of Myanmar, said he was taken ashore by armed men, who set him free after an hour. The circumstances leading to his freedom were not clear. ``They wanted to discharge the cargo there,'' Htun told reporters after senior port officials greeted him with a bouquet of roses and assured him such an incident would not recur.

    The local district administrator, Alapan Bandyopadhyay, said authorities would investigate the incident. ``Yesterday we were getting cryptic, remote, staggered information. Police is investigating the matter.''He said police had arrested 60 to 70 people involved in the hijack and recovered some weapons and explosives.``We have not heard of such an incident in the last 130 years since this port has been operational,'' Das Chaudhury said.

    Officials said about 50 police and paramilitary men guarded the ship on Friday as it sailed to Calcutta, a river port about 75 miles from the Bay of Bengal. Port officials said they had given two motorboats to police to patrol the river to prevent further mishaps.Port authorities would also give the state government a daily schedule of ships expected to berth in Calcutta.
    Battle escalating

    Shan Herald Agency for News 27 April 2001 No: 04-28

    As Shans and the Burma Army battled for the possession of a strategic mountain for the fourth day, clashes in other locations along the border are also being reported.

    Explosions and gunfire were heard by people in Fang, Chiangmai Province, since 05:00 until 18:00 yesterday. "It was not just Pakhee further south, but also at Loisarng near BP-2 (Border Pass Two)," said a source in Fang. No details were available, however, except that some Wa contingents who were with the junta attacking force kept reminding the Shans through the walkie-talkie that they had been forced to come.

    Three 120 mm mortar shells fell inside Thai territory and the Thai Army responded by firing 10 mortar shells to warn both warring sides, said a Thai source.

    A source from inside Shan State also reported another ambush along the Mongton - BP1 highway. It took place at Namhu Pakoy just south of Maeken, 15 miles from Mongton, that killed 3 Burmese soldiers and 1 militiaman, Kawlingta of Nakawngmu.

    The battle in Loi Kawwan, opposite Mae Fa Luang District, Chiangrai Province, long disengaged, had also resumed at 13:00 hours yesterday, according to a source there. Local Shan State Army officials could not be contacted however to give more details.

    Some shells fell in the 3-days a week market at BP-1, between Mongton of Shan State and Chiangdao of Thailand yesterday, prompting Thai authorities to close down the market indefinitely. The market visited by people from both countries is normally open on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

    Another source confirmed that the Burma Army fired 9 mortar shells at Loi Kawwan yesterday but no further attacks followed and the Shans commanded by Lt-Col Kawnjuen, did not retaliate.
    Illegal gambling widespread in Burma

    Rangoon, April 24, 2001
    By Sein Win, Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com )

    Illegal gambling business has mushroomed throughout Burma and some observers say that the ruling regime, by neglecting the growing illegal business and in fact encouraging it in some ways, is diverting the people’s interest from politics to day-to-day struggle.

    Gambling and betting are at present widely spread both in major cities such as Rangoon, Mandalay, Prome and the border areas. The authorities, receiving kickbacks and bribes, are pleased to stay as a mute spectator to this growing illegal business, which has been steadily destroying the spirit of the people.

    "Chai-hti" which is taken from the last three-digits of Thai legal lottery prize, "Hnna-lone-hti" which is from the last two-digits of Burma’s legal Fifty-lakh lottery prize, "Lay-kong-gin" which is a gambling game played with top at the four sides bearing pictures of four animals and Soccer betting are major illegal gambling widespread in Burma.

    We get busy on those days when Chai-hti and Hnna-lone hti are declared. Gambling agents deposit or withdraw their huge amount of money, hundred or thousand lakhs on those days, said a staff from Asia Wealth Bank, which is the biggest private bank in Burma.

    The poor, vendors, government staffs, rich people, etc all are involved in this lottery gambling and betting. A staff from the Yangon City Development Council (YCDC) told this correspondent that everybody in her family does lottery gambling."My whole family play lottery. We sometimes won and then spent it. When we lose, we are broke", she continued. "As the construction business which was a good business till a few years ago has fallen now, my income (through bribe) has fallen as well and we staffs in the Yangon City Development Council (YCDC) now a days are busy ourselves exchanging lottery numbers", she said.

    In this gambling business, some Buddhist monks have surfaced to be able to give right lottery numbers and they are famous with many followers.Some won and some lost. They won’t have an interest like that in Dhama, said a monk from New Dagon township.

    In Rangoon alone, there are at least ten gambling umpires, which have several agents who work and in turn get the commission. The gambling dens get protection from police by bribing (call "line-kyay" or Hafta money) the authorities.

    It has been very good in recent months. I always give "line-kyay" to the authorities such as division, district and township police and intelligence agencies. I never get arrested. At least they send me a massage before they come to raid. It cost me about twenty-five thousand kyats per month as "line-kyay", he continued. "You can see the sellers of "Cha-hti" and "Hnna-lone-Hti" everywhere even in the military compound and police station".

    There are many people who dislike the situation as the illegal gambling has become daily business for the people. "I am really worried that people are everyday involved in this gambling. It is like in those days of King Thi-Baw age when the King himself encouraged the people to bet, said an elderly citizen who survives on a small shop in Rangoon.

    The cease-fire groups such as Wa and Kokant own the major part of the gambling business. They transform their black money (heroin money) into legal white money through these gambling businesses.

    Some say that the military regime is skillfully deceiving the people by throwing them into the gambling-whirlpool so that the people are not involved in politics.
    Workshop on e-Commerce Initiative in Myanmar held

    source : NLM

    Yangon, 26 April Under the supervision of Myanmar Computer Scientist Association, a seminar on e-Commerce Initiative in Myanmar was held at International Business Centre on Pyay Road here this morning.

    Present on the occasion were Deputy Ministers for Science and Technology U Hlaing Win and U Nyi Hla Nge, officials of e-National Task Force, departmental personnel, President of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry U Win Myint, Chairperson of Myanmar Women Entrepreneurs’ Association Daw Sein Sein, President of Myanmar Computer Federation Dr Tin Maung, executives and members of MCSA, Myanmar Computer Industry Association and Myanmar Computer Amateur Association, officials of private computer companies and guests.

    Secretary of Myanmar Computer Development Council Chairman of e-National Force Deputy Minister U Hlaing Win made an opening speech.Then, President of MCSA U Thein Oo read out paper on e-Commerce Key Success Factors and Issue, Vice-President of MCSA U Thaung Tin paper on Technical aspects of e-Commerce and Managing Director of Myanmar Inforithm U Chit Tun Pe paper on e-Trade.

    Afterwards, Managing Director of Myanmar Information Technology Pte Ltd U Tun Thura Thet read out paper on e-Shopping, General Manager of ACE Data System U Ye Yint Win paper on e-Reservation, Managing Director of Maze Media U Thaung Su Nyein paper on e-Media, U Ohn Naing of CE Technology paper on e-Book and U Pyi Sone of MCC paper on e-Entertainment. A general round of discussions followed, and then the meeting came to a close.
    The Strand Hotel celebrates its centennial

    source : NLM

    Yangon, 26 April-A ceremony to celebrate the Centennial of the Strand Hotel (Kanna Hotel) at the corner of Strand Road and Seikantha Road in Yangon, built in 1901, was held at the hotel yesterday evening, attended by Minister for Hotels and Tourism Maj-Gen Saw Lwin.

    Also present on the occasion were Deputy Minister Brig-Gen Aye Myint Kyu, departmental heads, ambassadors and officials from the embassies in Yangon, resident representatives of the UN agencies, local and foreign mediamen, artists, gems and antique traders, general managers from the hotels in Yangon, ex-staff and staff of the hotel and invited guests. The guests were hosted dinner.

    The hotel was built in 1901 and it is the most ancient hotel in Myanmar. At that time, the hotel was one of the best hotels in South-East Asia, and great guests and famous persons put up there.

    Myanma Hotels and Tourism Services managed it in 1964. It was jointly renovated by MHTS and hoteliers in Hong Kong in 1990 and was reopened in No! vember 1993.