Tycoon Turf
covering burma and southeast asia
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Magazine

COVER STORY

Tycoon Turf


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


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(Page 6 of 14)

Its many construction projects include road building in Shan State, the renovation of Rangoon international airport, a deepwater port in Rangoon and a US $33 million toll highway from the heart of Burma’s opium cultivating region to the Chinese border. The Rangoon port terminal is one of the best in the country, handling more than 40 percent of the country's container traffic, and with ambitious expansion plans.

 

Transport and communications also figure in Asia World’s wide range of activities. It runs the Leo Express bus line from Rangoon to northern Burma and operates a cargo and container shipping enterprise out of Rangoon port, fuelling speculation that the company is involved in drug trafficking by sea. Independent observers say that while Asia World is making money from laundering drug trade profits, it’s doubtful the company is actually engaged in trafficking.

 

Apart from his Burma operations, Steven Law has developed strong business connections with Malaysian-born tycoon Robert Kuok. Beginning with a deal to import Kuok cooking oil, Asia World’s business association with the Malaysian magnate grew to encompass real estate investment and the sub-contracting of several Kuok Group projects, including the construction of two top Rangoon hotels, Traders and the still uncompleted Shangri-La Through its partnership with Asia World, Kuok Singapore Ltd became by late 1996 Burma’s single largest real estate investor, pumping more than $650 million into that sector.

 

The Singapore connection—symbolically sealed by Law’s marriage to his Singapore business partner Cecilia Ng in 1995—was aired in 1996 in an Australian television program titled “Singapore Sling.” Made by Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service, the program linked Steven Law and his father to several legitimate Singapore-based businesses.

 

Asia World’s legitimate business activities are well documented, although a company spokesman declined to talk to The Irrawaddy about them.

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Aung Ko WinAung Ko Win

 

Aung Ko Win—prior to 1988, a school teacher and still known in some circles as “Saya Kyaung”—has risen from obscurity to become a powerful and well-connected business figure in Burma.



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