The Golden Triangle
Inside Southeast Asia's Drug Trade
Publication Year: 2009
The Golden Triangle region that joins Burma, Thailand, and Laos is one of the global centers of opiate and methamphetamine production. Opportunistic Chinese businessmen and leaders of various armed groups are largely responsible for the manufacture of these drugs. The region is defined by the apparently conflicting parallel strands of criminality and efforts at state building, a tension embodied by a group of individuals who are simultaneously local political leaders, drug entrepreneurs, and members of heavily armed militias.
Ko-lin Chin, a Chinese American criminologist who was born and raised in Burma, conducted five hundred face-to-face interviews with poppy growers, drug dealers, drug users, armed group leaders, law-enforcement authorities, and other key informants in Burma, Thailand, and China. The Golden Triangle provides a lively portrait of a region in constant transition, a place where political development is intimately linked to the vagaries of the global market in illicit drugs.
Chin explains the nature of opium growing, heroin and methamphetamine production, drug sales, and drug use. He also shows how government officials who live in these areas view themselves not as drug kingpins, but as people who are carrying the responsibility for local economic development on their shoulders.
Published by: Cornell University Press
Download PDF (752.6 KB)
Title Page, Copyright
Download PDF (117.3 KB)
Download PDF (74.9 KB)
Ac know ledg ments
Download PDF (119.5 KB)
Many people have contributed to this research project and I very much appreciate their assistance and support. First and foremost, I would like to thank Larry Chung, executive director of the International Foundation for the Peaceful Elimination of Opium Crops. Without Larry’s relentless efforts in helping me overcome a variety of obstacles along the way, this ...
IntroductionInto the Thick of It
Download PDF (143.1 KB)
Burma is the second largest opium- producing country in the world af-ter Af ghan i stan.1 Within Burma, most of the opium is grown in the Wa area of northeastern Shan State.2 Very few people have had access to the Wa area. The sale of opium, as well as the heroin and methamphetamine that is also produced there, enriches a small minority of merchants. But it ...
Chapter OneThe Golden Triangle and Burma
Download PDF (298.7 KB)
One of the world’s major opium cultivation and heroin producing areas is the Golden Triangle, a 150,000- square- mile, mountainous region lo-cated where the borders of Burma, Laos, and Thailand meet (United Na-tions Offi ce on Drugs and Crime 2006). In the 1990s, it was estimated that Burma produced more than 50 percent of the world’s raw opium and re-...
Chapter TwoThe Wa
Download PDF (448.6 KB)
The Wa area is located in the Shan State of Burma (or Myanmar) and its offi cial name is Myanmar Shan State No. 2 Special Region (Wa govern-ment). The Wa leaders refer to their region as the Wa State, to the dismay of Burmese authorities who have long resisted the idea that the Wa was a sovereign “state” or province, but was, instead, merely a special region.1 ...
Chapter ThreeThe Opium Trade
Download PDF (436.1 KB)
Although there are numerous estimates of the amount of opium pro-duction in the Wa territory, we do not know how reliable these estimates are. In addition to the aggregate data, we need to know how Wa farmers view the act of growing opium. What are their reasons for participating in opium production? How do opium growers manage to sell their product? ...
Chapter FourHeroin Production and Traffi cking
Download PDF (399.8 KB)
Because of the international subculture of heroin use, the opium busi-ness in the Wa Hills attracts the rapt attention of the world law enforce-ment community. According to the 1994 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report of the U.S. Department of State, approximately 60 percent of the heroin consumed in the United States in 1994 came from Southeast ...
Chapter FiveThe Methamphetamine Business
Download PDF (275.5 KB)
While the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia has long been known as a major opium cultivation and heroin production center, in the past de cade the area has also developed into an important base for methamphetamine According to Chartchai Suthiklom, deputy secretary- general of the Of-fi ce of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) of Thailand, methamphetamine ...
Chapter SixDrug Use
Download PDF (382.0 KB)
Most articles and books on the drug trade in the Golden Triangle have focused on the cultivation of opium and the production of heroin and methamphetamine for the world market, and have paid little attention to the negative impact of these drugs on the local population. In this chapter, I will discuss the problem of opium, heroin, and methamphetamine use in ...
Chapter SevenDrug Control
Download PDF (343.1 KB)
The drug trade in the Golden Triangle has been an international prob-lem for more than half a century (McCoy 1972, 1991; Lintner 1994b; Renard 1996; Boucaud and Boucaud 1998), with the drug under scrutiny evolving from opium to heroin and, most recently, to methamphetamine (Phong-paichit, Piriyarangsan, and Teerat 1998; Takano 2002; Chouvy and Meis-...
Chapter EightThe Business and Politics of Drugs
Download PDF (250.5 KB)
In this fi nal chapter, I will focus on two issues: the question of who runs the drug trade, and how politics affects it. Many individuals or groups have been blamed for the drug trade in the Golden Triangle. I will exam-ine the roles of several groups and suggest which groups of people are particularly active in the Golden Triangle’s drug business. The second ...
AppendixNames in Pinyin Romanizationand Other Spellings
Download PDF (56.6 KB)
Download PDF (209.2 KB)
Download PDF (223.6 KB)
Download PDF (111.2 KB)
Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2009