Daily News- February 25- 2002- Monday

  • Myanmar whips hosts to top group
  • Portugal gets to know non-Burmans
  • Wei's frozen assets now reach B270m
  • Myanmar doing little to stop forced labour - ILO

  • Myanmar whips hosts to top group

    PETALING JAYA (Feb 24, 2002) - Myanmar topped Group A in grand style when they thrashed hosts Malaysia 7-0 in a AFF Under-17 match at the MPPJ Stadium today.

    Myanmar wasted no time and shot into the lead three minutes into the game when Bo Bo Aung took advantage of some lose defending to score.Bo Aung punished the Malaysian defence for yet another error in the 27th minute.

    Myanmar were on fire while Malaysia were struggling to get their game together. The hosts were unable to put the brakes on the Myanmar forwards. Three minutes from the break, Kyaw Kyaw Soe enhanced Myanmar's position when he chipped over Malaysian keeper, Mohd Anuar Husaini.

    Myanmar were not done after the breather and surged futher ahead just two minutes later. Nyi Nyi Aung turned in a fine cross from Han Win Hung.Just two minutes later, Malaysia succumbed to another goal, this time from Tun Tun Win, who shot from outside the box.Bo Aung completed his sensational hattrick in the 74th minute after slipping past a defender and the Malaysian keeper. Si Thu Maung completed the Malaysian nightmare with a goal three minutes from the end.

    Malaysian coach and former international, Zainal Abidin Hassan, said: "We played badly but we need to wake up and concentrate on our next match. We also have to motivate the boys," said Zainal. "We are happy with the big margin and we are looking forward to the semifinals," said U Tin Han .

    Asian U-17 Draw

    Draw for the preliminary competition of the Asian Youth U-17 Championship 2002 are now available. The final competition will be hosted by United Arab Emirates. In Group 7 , Myanmar will meet Hong Kong and Singapore.

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    Portugal gets to know non-Burmans

    Shan Herald Agency for News- 24 February 2002- No: 02 - 22:

    Two non-Burman representatives, one Karen and one Shan, are back home after a "get to know each other" trip to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, according to the latter.The two, Saw Zakis, EC member of Karen National Union and Sai Wansai, General Secretary of Shan Democratic Union, met various dignitaries for general lobbying last Monday, 18 February.

    They were Mrs Aase Spielberg Danielsen, Ambassador of Norway, Mr Joop H.J. Jeurissen, Ambassador of the Netherlands, Dr. Carlos Veloso Da Costa, Deputy Director for Asia and Oceania from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Dr Alvaro Vasconcellos and Dr Miguel Santos Neves from the International Strategic Studies.

    Sai Wansai quoted one "bigwig" as saying he was "pessimistic" with the outcome of the secret talks between Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader, and the Rangoon authorities.

    "He is of the opinion that there has not been any substantial progress after more than one year.... He is personally in favor of more pressure on the SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) regarding the talks and would push this position in the upcoming EU policy deliberations."

    Regarding the non-Burman nationalities' political importance and position, he confirmed the support of Portugal within the EU mold.

    The two delegates were also interviewed by Diario de noticias (Daily News), the leading national newspaper on their arrival. They also are planning for "a virgin soil" for their next lobbying trip, according to Wansai.

    "We are not lobbying in the capacity as ENSCC (Ethnic Nationalities Solidarity and Cooperation Committee) members," he added, "but we toe its line that was enunciated in Oslo (on 8 December) and later in Paris."

    The ENSCC was formed in last August to "speak on behalf of the non-Burman ethnic nationalities to bring about a Tripartite Dialogue."

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    Wei's frozen assets now reach B270m

    Anucha Charoenpo
    the Bangkokpost

    The Money Laundering Office has frozen 270 million baht in assets belonging to drug warlord Wei Hsueh-Kang and his close aides in a series of drug swoops since December.Pol Col Peeraphan Premphuti, secretary-general of the office, said the assets were seized from 50 people with close ties to Wei.

    These people, some of whom were Wei's relatives, were business partners who ran legal businesses especially agriculture and jewellery as fronts to launder money illegally obtained from the drugs trade.Pol Col Peeraphan said they have been running businesses here for many years.He said the authorities had credible information and strong evidence to prove the group was linked to Wei.

    Information from police investigations showed Wei had business connections with as many as 100 other people.Wei also had close connections with local officials and influential figures as well as politicians at local and international level to help facilitate his drug business.

    The secretary-general said only a few of Wei's cronies visited him since the asset seizure.They claimed some of their frozen assets were legally obtained.The Money Laundering Office checked the claims and returned some of the assets after it found they were earned legally.Investigators were ready to listen to complaints of those affected by the asset seizure orders.The office required the owners of assets to clarify the source of their wealth within 30 days of seizure.Without the claims, the assets would soon fall under state ownership.

    Pol Col Peeraphan said he would soon send the first case involving Wei's drug gang to court to seek an approval for the asset seizure.The authorities froze nearly 100 million baht worth of assets in eight raids in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in December after learning the assets were all held by Wei's aides, relatives and mistresses.

    During the investigation, more assets illegally acquired had been frozen.The authorities last week raided 25 locations in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai with suspected links to Wei.They seized assets worth around 20 million baht and arrested five people with fake ID cards. He did not know if other operations would follow but pledged his office would try its best to trace the assets of Wei and his gang in Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States.

    Wei, an ethnic Chinese Haw, was arrested in Bangkok several years ago. He was later convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death.But he managed to escape to Burma after he was granted bail and joined Wa forces at Mong Yawn.

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    Myanmar doing little to stop forced labour - ILO


    BANGKOK, Feb. 25 - Myanmar, although desperate to end its political and economic isolation, is failing to curb army use of forced labour and shunning outside help, the International Labour Office (ILO) said on Monday.

    With an ILO team due to leave Myanmar on Monday after a week-long visit, an executive of the U.N. body said it was rejecting foreign-funded programmes aimed at halting forced labour.

    ''Myanmar is a case unto itself in terms of forced labour extracted by the military,'' ILO executive director Kari Tapiola told reporters at an ILO meet on labour rights in Bangkok. ''At this point, Myanmar is in the category of countries which have not said yes, we're willing to cooperate,'' he said.

    Myanmar's ruling generals, eager for international legitimacy which could bring more aid, trade and investment, passed a decree in 2000 abolishing forced labour. But an ILO report last year said the Myanmar army was still forcing villagers to farm, and work on infrastructure projects or as porters, especially in areas near the Thai border where it was fighting with ethnic minority armies.

    ''There's been a degree, but not a very high degree, of progress,'' said Tapiola of the government's efforts to stamp out forced labour. ''It could be a case of the government not being able to control local army commanders who have their own economic interests,'' he suggested.


    Tapiola said the ILO and international donors could start funding village development to give Myanmar people an alternative to forced labour, if the Myanmar government co-operated. ''We would look at what are the ways of getting the military out of running businesses,'' he said.

    Although Myanmar authorities this month refused a request by the ILO to set up a permanent office in Yangon, Tapiola said he was hopeful of some ILO presence, maybe an ombudsman to receive complaints from the public. An end to economic isolation could be the reward for the impoverished Southeast Asian country, he said.

    ''The incentive is to get out of a growing isolation and an economic situation which is awfully bad,'' Tapiola said. ''As things are now, every trade or investment is raising questions about guarantees no forced labour is being used.''

    Many Western firms have stopped sourcing goods from Myanmar following pressure from human rights groups. But France's Total, U.S. oil and gas giant Unocal and Thailand's state owned PTT plc are still involved in construction of two controversial gas pipelines linking Myanmar gas fields to Thailand.

    The firms deny allegations by rights groups that forced labour is being used on the projects. Many Western countries, including the European Union and the United States, which maintain aid and trade sanctions on Myanmar, say they could soften their stances if the ruling generals improve their human rights record and move towards democracy.

    Since late 2000, the government has been engaged in talks with Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy, which won the country's last democratic election in 1990 by a landslide but was never allowed to rule. The government has released over 200 political prisoners since the talks began, but Amnesty International says over 1,500 still languish in jails.

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