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20 Aug 2020

Kyaw Ye Lynn, Anadolu Agency

Myanmar: Armed groups and Chinese investors allegedly involved in unregulated gambling business

“Chinese dominated Myanmar’s unregulated gambling business”, 16 August 2020

… Myawaddy New City project was implemented on 543 acres of land with a joint venture that involves the Chit Linn Myaing company owned by Border Guard Force (BGF), a powerful ethnic armed group operating under the command of the military in the region, since it was approved by the regional government in late 2018…

Kayin state was riddled by a decade-long armed conflict between the military and ethnic rebel groups until a cease-fire agreement was signed in 2012.

But the area, especially Myawaddy, has been attracting businesses and investment in recent years because of its strategic location on a planned economic corridor aimed at connecting two port cities in Myanmar and Vietnam.

Sadly, Myawaddy has become a paradise for controversial business for armed groups as the government and military worries a crackdown could jeopardize ongoing peace talks.

According to local lawmakers, there are at least 17 casinos along the Moei River, jointly operated by armed groups and Chinese investors.

“All casinos are illegal, untaxed and ungoverned by authority. Armed groups operated casinos in cooperation with foreign investors, mainly Chinese,” said Sein Bo, lower house lawmaker from Myawaddy township…

He said the town has seen an influx of Chinese, from other parts of the country, as well as from neighboring countries such as Cambodia and Laos, due to growing illegal businesses, including casino and online gambling…

United States Institute of Peace (USIP) recently published reports focusing on the shift of Chinese crime networks from Cambodia and Laos to Kayin state.

It highlighted the Shwekokko New City project being developed by a joint venture between BGF’s Chit Linn Myaing company and Hong Kong-based Yatai International Holdings Group, on nearly 30,000 acres near a village where BGF is headquartered…