The Golden Triangle – Stairway to Drug Trafficking in Southeast Asia

The Golden Triangle, a safe passage for drug trafficking in southeast asia , is the region where the boundaries of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar converge at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers. The term “Golden Triangle” is frequently used in a broader sense to refer to a region that spans the mountains of the three neighbouring nations and is roughly 950,000 square kilometres (367,000 sq mi) in size.the map of golden triangleSince the 1950s, it has been one of the world’s main opium-producing regions, along with Afghanistan in the Golden Crescent. Until the early years of the twenty-first century, the Golden Triangle was the primary source of heroin production in the globe. Today, Myanmar and to a lesser extent Laos are the countries that generate the majority of the opium in the region.After Afghanistan, Myanmar is the second-largest producer of opium in the world, contributing about 25% of global output and being a member of the Golden Triangle.

Origin: Drug Production in South East Asia

When the Chinese Communist Party took control, they forced ten million addicts into treatment, killed traffickers, and planted new crops in opium-producing areas. Opium production consequently moved towards the Golden Triangle region, south of the Chinese border. Since the Konbaung dynasty around 1750, small-scale opium has been produced in Myanmar, primarily for export.The Kuomintang in Burma (KMTChinese)’s troops served as the forerunners of the Golden Triangle’s private drug army. The Kuomintang seized control of the border regions in 1949 after hundreds of the defeated Kuomintang troops crossed the border from Yunnan province into Burma, a country with a weak government. The KMT transferred almost all of its opium south to Thailand.The majority of Burma’s opium was produced in the KMT-controlled territories, and the change in KMT policy gave them more power over the opium trade there. Furthermore, by the early 1950s, Communist China had essentially given the KMT troops in the Shan State the opium monopoly by eliminating illegal opium farming in Yunnan. Local ethnic Chinese people, as well as people in Yunnan, China, and other parts of Southeast Asia, were the main users of the drug. They imposed a high tax on the opium cultivators and forced the nearby peasants to provide them with food, money, and recruits. The farmers were compelled to boost their output as a result in order to survive.

Production and Distribution of Methamphetamine

The greatest methamphetamine production region in the world is thought to be the Golden Triangle, more especially the Shan State of Myanmar. Methamphetamine production in East and Southeast Asia appears to have moved into the lower Mekong region as evidenced by growing signs of an increase in activity within and around the Golden Triangle and a corresponding decline in the number of production facilities demolished in other areas of the region. Over the past ten years, methamphetamine seizures have steadily increased across East and Southeast Asian nations.Authorities in Myanmar reported Asia’s biggest drug operation in Shan State in April and May 2020. This operation was thought to have involved 193 million methamphetamine tablets, hundreds of kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine, some heroin, over 162,000 litres and 35.5 tonnes of drug precursors, high-tech production machinery, and numerous staging and storage facilities.

History of Drug Trafficking in Southeast Asia

After Afghanistan, Myanmar is the world’s second-largest producer of illicit opium, and since World War II, it has played a vital role in the global drug trade. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that opium was grown on 430 square kilometres (167 square miles) of land in Myanmar in 2005.Yangon celebrated the capture of drug kingpin KhunSa’s Mong Tai Army in January 1996 as a significant victory in the war on drugs. The overall anti-drug effort is nevertheless hampered by the government’s lack of willingness and capacity to confront significant narcotrafficking organisations as well as its lack of serious commitment to combat money laundering. The majority of the tribes who cultivate the opium poppy in Myanmar and the Thai highlands are subsistence farmers.As production of crystalline methamphetamine and Yaba tablets has increased, including for export to Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of East and Southeast Asia, the Golden Triangle has emerged as one of the world’s top regions for the manufacture of synthetic drugs, particularly methamphetamine.

Laos Police Make One of its Biggest Busts, Seizing Meth Pills

Authorities in Laos have made the third-largest methamphetamine haul they have ever made, seizing 33 million tablets and 500 kilogrammes (1,100 pounds) of crystal meth. The massive bust followed the discovery of 200,000 tablets in a truck that was halted at a checkpoint in the Bokeo province in the northwest. That deed made a trafficking organisation and its schemes known, which led to the much larger seizure once the driver was questioned.drug trafficking in south east asiaThe vehicle was halted close to the Kings Roman Casino, which is situated in a Laos special economic zone that runs essentially independently of the country’s laws. Such areas can be found in the close-by Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia, all of which have lax law enforcement and have experienced problems with organised crime.When police in the same region of Bokeo confiscated more than 55.6 million meth pills in a single raid, coupled with roughly 1,500 kilogrammes (3,300 pounds) of crystal meth, it was Laos’ largest narcotics seizure and one of Asia’s largest as well. Bokeo was the site of the second-largest meth pill seizure in the nation, which occurred in January. Methamphetamine is simple to create, and it has replaced opium and heroin as the main illegal substance consumed and exported throughout Southeast Asia. The Golden Triangle region, where the borders of Myanmar, the primary producer of methamphetamine, Laos, and Thailand meet, was historically a significant opium production region and housed many of the labs that turned it into heroin.Years of political unrest have essentially rendered Myanmar’s frontier regions lawless, leaving them open to exploitation by traffickers and makers of illegal drugs. Bokeo, which has borders with both Myanmar and Thailand and is traversed by the Mekong River, serves as a hub for the drug trafficking in southeast Asia