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6 Okt 2020

The Irrawaddy

Chinese Embassy supports Myanmar Govt's move to investigate a project run by Chinese investors due to illicit activities & land confiscations

"Yatai IHG May Seek to Co-opt Myanmar Government Officials Through Dubious Connections", 6 October 2020

[...] [T]he Chinese Embassy in Yangon expressed support for Myanmar’s move to investigate irregularities surrounding a controversial new city development near the Thai border in Karen State run by Chinese investors accused of illegal casino activities in Cambodia and the Philippines.

Known locally as “China Town,” the planned new city project in Myawaddy Township’s Shwe Kokko Village is reported to be a US$15-billion (19.45-trillion-kyat) collaboration between the Karen State Border Guard Force—a Myanmar military-backed armed group led by Colonel Chit Thu and formerly known as the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA)—and a Hong Kong-registered company, Yatai International Holding Group (IHG).

The project has sparked criticism due to a lack of transparency, land confiscations, confusion over the scale of construction and the growing influx of Chinese money, as well as suspected illicit activity and local concerns about the social impacts of casino businesses.


Following the Chinese Embassy’s announcement in August, Yatai IHG released a bizarre statement on its WeChat Public Account providing an update on the status of the project, saying, “This project is not the act of the Chinese government, but is still in service of the Belt and Road Initiative [BRI].” This represents a downgrading of its previous claims that the Shwe Kokko project was formally part of the BRI, Beijing’s vast network of infrastructure projects envisioned for Asia and beyond.