Tycoon Turf
covering burma and southeast asia
Sunday, February 17, 2019


Tycoon Turf

By Aung Zaw SEPTEMBER, 2005 - VOLUME 13 NO.9

(Page 5 of 14)

Tay Za’s business dealings are also reported to be coming under scrutiny from the Special Branch, and he was decidedly nervous about The Irrawaddy’s examination of his activities in the magazine’s July issue.


Protectively, perhaps, Tay Za appears to be hedging his bets on the future, like any clever businessman, by adding Kyaing San Shwe, Than Shwe’ s son, to his coterie of friends. He sealed his new friendship by buying Kyaing San Shwe an American-made Hummer, the civilian version of the military Humvee that is the latest status symbol on American highways and which now turns heads on Rangoon streets.



Tun Myint NaingTun Myint Naing


Tun Myint Naing, or Steven Law—as he likes to be known—is managing director of Asia World Co, Burma’s biggest conglomerate, but he is probably better known as the son of the 1970s drug lord and militia leader Lo Hsing Han.


Lo is chairman of Asia World, and its guiding force, leaving his son with a hard task of maintaining the company’s reputation and credibility.


Saddled with this family background, Law keeps a low profile and rarely speaks to the international press. Although he travels extensively within Asia, he is banned from entering the US, which refused him a visa in 1996 because of his suspected involvement in drug trafficking.


The US suspicion was a legacy of Law’s business association with his notorious father, believed by US narcotics agents in the 1970s to control Southeast Asia’s most heavily armed drug trafficking organization.


The militia raised by Lo—an ethnic Chinese from the Kokang region of Burma’s section of the opium-producing Golden Triangle—was co-opted by the Rangoon regime to join in the fight against the Communist Party of Burma. But Lo fell foul of the regime, and in 1973 he was put on trial for treason and sentenced to death. Seven years later he was amnestied and returned to the Kokang region.


In subsequent years he developed close relations with the former prime minister Khin Nyunt and his regime, helping to seal ceasefire agreements with Wa and Kokang forces in the early 1990s. Khin Nyunt’s downfall last October doesn’t appear to have had any negative effects on the close relations between the Lo family and the Rangoon power base—regional press reports disclose that just one phone call secures a meeting between Steven Law and a cabinet minister of his choice.


Asia World Co was founded on June 5, 1992, with strong financial backing and on a broad platform of business activities.

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