Fri 29 Feb 2008
Filed under: Drugs,News
Local Burmese junta authorities are encouraging people to cultivate poppy and then collecting taxes from villagers in Mongkeung Township, according to reports from Southern Shan State.
On February 21, 2008, the Mongnai-based Infantry Battalion 245 went to ask for Kyat 150,000 ($120) as poppy field taxes in Loi Pang Hawk Mountain in Wan Yart village tract.Â Villagers were to pay by February 22, 2008 at Wan Pa village in Nam Hu village tract.
“They told us to plant poppy and collected tax-money from us,” a villager said.
A source claimed that every District Peace and Development Council (DPDC) and Infantry Battalion went to look for poppy fields and collected taxes from every township in Shan State.Â It is also reported that since the beginning of 2008 to the middle of this month, poppy harvesting has been a success.
“In some places, the crops are not good enough and when such is the case, the authorities would go and destroy the crops.Â They would then video tape their activities to show it to foreign countries,” the villager said.Â “When authorities find a poppy field, it is like a hungry monster seeing its prey. They count immediately how much they would get from this,” he added.
The military government has declared Burma will be free of poppy-cultivation by 2014. Meanwhile, drug entrepreneurs say poppy cultivation in Shan State is back to the level of pre 2001-2002 season, when the military authorities launched an all-out war on drugs in northern Shan State.