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Myanmar: Lord of Jade

By Global Witness  •  December 3, 2015

Lord of Jade in Myanmar Myanmar’s jade business may be the biggest natural resource heist in modern history. The sums of money involved are almost incomprehensibly high and the levels of accountability are at rock bottom. One of the most dominant and dangerous groups involved is a collection of companies controlled by Myanmar’s most famous drug lord, Wei Hsueh Kang. This report shows how Wei Hsueh Kang and his associates, following the template of terrorists, kleptocrats and mafia the world over, have used a web of opaque company structures to build, and disguise, a jade empire.

Following the election victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party in November 2015, Myanmar’s long-suffering population has a historic opportunity for change. But many obstacles lie ahead. One of the most significant and least understood is the jade business. Jade production was worth up to US$31 billion in 2014 alone: equivalent to almost half Myanmar’s officially recorded GDP. At the same time, the business is substantially controlled by political hardliners who command no popular support but might attempt a comeback or campaign of sabotage if they have the means to finance it. Prising the jade from their grip must be one of the top priorities for the new government if it is to deliver the lasting freedoms, peace and prosperity voters have demanded.


Download the full report in English here.

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This post is in: ASEAN, Business and Human Rights, Drugs, Economy, Environmental and Economic Justice, Ethnic Nationalities, Health, Human Rights, Law, Military Regime

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