Intelligence (April 2008)
covering burma and southeast asia
Thursday, June 20, 2024

Intelligence (April 2008)



Sanctions and Depreciation of US Dollar Hit Burma

Due to weakness on the global foreign exchange market, the value of the US dollar in Burma is falling fast. But the greenback’s falling value is also linked to the latest targeted sanctions by the United States directed against the business cronies of the Burmese regime, say Rangoon-based observers.

Observers believe the companies facing sanctions are moving their cash and assets from abroad into domestic markets.

“In the market nowadays, supply is much higher than the demand,” a business source said. “If you want to buy US $100,000, you can collect it very quickly. You couldn’t buy it like that before.”    

In February, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control added several key Burmese and Singaporean business figures and their companies to its sanctions list. On top of the list was Singapore-registered Golden Aaron, which is managed by Singaporean Cecilia Ng, whose husband, Tun Myint Naing (alias Steven Law), heads Asia World, Burma’s largest and most diversified conglomerate.

The sanctions and depreciation of the US dollar in Burma may already be having an impact on business operations, especially exports of seafood and gems, business sources say. Sources in Rangoon confirm that members of the Myanmar Fishery Products and Exporters Association, under Chairman Soe Htun Shein, have closed five processing plants and warehouses, as foreign customers have dramatically reduced their orders.

Reward for Alleged Mahn Sha Killers? 

Mahn Sha, who killed him? (Photo: Htain Linn)
The leading suspects in the February 14 assassination of Karen National Union General Secretary Mahn Sha were allegedly rewarded with a sum of money from Col Myat Htun Oo, a Burmese intelligence officer, according to Karen sources. A source who witnessed the shooting reported seeing a member of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), San Pyote, and two gunmen at the murder scene. Karen sources say the two gunmen were soldiers of Maj-Gen Htain Maung’s breakaway group, known as the KNU/KNLA Peace Council.

The sources alleged that San Pyote (aka Soe Myint) of DKBA’s Battalion 999 served as the driver during the plot. San Pyote, who has a close relationship with Htain Maung, is currently believed to be living between the Karen State capital Pa-an and Rangoon. Sources said he had no contact with his family in Shwe Koko for fear of reprisals from the KNU. A KNLA official said further assassination attempts were planned on KNU and other opposition leaders in Mae Sot with the backing of Karen breakaway groups and the Burmese army.  

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