Jay Walker, former Australian correspondent for High Times
magazine, writes:

The name on everyone’s lips: Lo
Hsing Han, has been let loose in the public domain again in
this piece from today’s Australian :“Singapore’s
hand in Golden Triangle.”

Old man Lo’s family firm is run by his
“American-educated son, Steven Law, who is married to a Singaporean woman,
Cecilia Ng, [and who] is managing director of Asia World and runs three ‘overseas branches’ of the conglomerate in Singapore.”

“The links between
Singapore and the drug lords of Burma began to surface in the mid-1990s. In
1996, it emerged that the Singapore Government Investment Corporation had
co-invested with Lo in the Traders and Shangri-La hotels in Rangoon through its
21.5 per cent stake in the $US39 million ($52 million) Myanmar Fund.

“Many Singapore companies are involved in the Asia World group, and
$900 million-plus a year pours into Burma in private investment from Singapore.”

It’s a cradle to grave operation, a well-oiled, vertically integrated
corporate group which handles the merchandise from the poppy fields of northern
Burma to the streets of Australia, among other local markets.

The other
major world producer is Afghanistan, almost back on top after nearly being wiped
out by the pesky Taliban who were running the place for a while and effectively
shut-down the trade. Now that the country’s been liberated it’s business as
usual which probably means that the PM is currently standing in the middle of
the major trans-shipment point for Afghanistan heroin.

The Burmese family
firm has learnt a thing or two about infrastructure deals, too. What to
do when your primary production areas are in the remote, and inaccessible to
modern transportation, northern region of the country and the primary product
needs to be chemically processed, stored, packed and shipped to a captive
regional market?

“Asia World’s operations now include a deepwater port
in Rangoon, the Leo Express bus line to northern Burma, and a US$33 million toll
highway from the heart of Burma’s opium cultivating region to the Chinese
border” according to The
Irrawaddy Vol 8. No. 6, June 2000
and a chemicals company which just
happens, co-incidentally, to import a couple in particular which are used in the
processing of raw opium into the heroin which almost exclusively turns up in
Australia.

What a set-up, Lo Inc take care of cultivation, manufacture,
distribution and supply and Singapore Inc do their money laundering for a sling
of the action.