Indian cold pills pour over remote border to fuel Myanmar narcotics boom

Five years ago, when cold pills first trickled across Myanmar’s untamed border with India, many local officials were baffled. Where was this medicine going, and why were smugglers so interested in it? Today, the cross-border trickle has become a torrent and everyone knows why the Indian-made pills are so valuable: they are bound for secret laboratories in […]

Mekong states band together to tackle drug scourge

MEKONG RIVER • The Lao People’s Army patrol boat was custom- made in China with night-vision capability and two of the most powerful engines on a remote stretch of the Mekong River. Today, like most days, it sits idle for lack of petrol, guarded by a single Laotian soldier in flip-flops. Even occasional patrols by […]

Can Coffee Replace Opium in Southern Shan State?

In the hills in southern Shan State surrounding Taunggyi, in Myanmar, up a tangle of roads barely passable in a Hilux, deep into an ocean of opium poppy fields barely clinging to the hillside, a few islands of other crops have sprung up. They are most prominently coffee and rubber – all part of a […]