Myanmar: Chinese firms allegedly associated with criminal networks partner with local armed groups in developing special economic zones, analysts say

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24 April 2020

Myanmar: Chinese firms allegedly associated with criminal networks partner with local armed groups in developing special economic zones, analysts say

Author: Jason Tower and Priscilla A. Clapp, United States Institute of Peace

“Chinese Crime Networks Partner with Myanmar Armed Groups”, 20 April 2020

Along the banks of the Moei River that separates southeastern Burma from Thailand, three new cities are emerging on the traditional lands of Burma’s ethnic Karen. Not long ago, the area was wracked by intense combat between the Myanmar army and Karen nationalists. Today, hotels, casinos and condos are sprouting in unauthorized “special economic zones” owned and operated by murky Chinese business networks in partnership with local, mutually hostile armed groups. Of the three deals behind these cities, two were signed between January and March while the world focused single-mindedly on the spreading coronavirus. In total, 157 square kilometers of Burmese territory have fallen under control of Chinese enterprises tied to gambling, money laundering, cryptocurrency, and even criminal networks…

Civilian residents of Karen State have reacted with alarm to this invasion, fearing that it will overwhelm the state’s civilian institutions, entrench criminal activity in its economy, undermine economic and development reform, and disenfranchise the native population…

The Chinese enterprises behind these three projects have several things in common: Their leadership have links to criminal networks or actors involved in illicit activities; they have pre-existing organizations engaged in casinos and crypto currencies; they claim—apparently falsely—to be associated with Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative and flaunt connections with key Chinese government agencies; their activities in Cambodia led to a crackdown by the Cambodian and Chinese governments…

The Yatai New City Project (Shwekoko) results from an agreement signed in July 2017 by the Karen border guard force (BGF) and the Hong Kong-registered Yatai International Holdings Group (IHG)…

The Saixigang Industrial Zone Project is also designed to house Chinese businesses being forced out of Cambodia by the China–Cambodia law enforcement program. (In Chinese Saixigang translates roughly as “Surpass Sihanoukville”—the stated objective of its proponents.)… Dongmei Group, which was established in partnership with a Malaysian businessperson, is the key investor in the Saixigang Zone.

The Huanya International City Project, located in Karen National Union-controlled territory in the city of Myawaddy, involves Saw Roger Khin, a member of the Karen National Union Executive Committee and head of the KNU Defense Department. Its Chinese investors include the Huanya Company and the Association of Business Federations of Sihanoukville…

None of these projects has received proper approvals from the Myanmar Investment Commission or the National Economic Coordination Commission, nor have they been reviewed by the national legislature, the Union Parliament. Some have already started to host unregulated gambling, including online gambling. While the Union government is planning to legalize gambling in some form, the new law has not been passed and casino licenses have not been issued, contrary to what the Chinese investors are saying publicly in their promotional materials.

In their public narratives, the three companies claim to be operating under the umbrella of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), risking the reputation of the Chinese government in Myanmar and internationally. Besides casting an aura of criminality over the BRI, these actors are likely to generate considerable costs for Chinese law enforcement…

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Author: United States Institute of Peace

[此翻譯由企業責任資源中心提供]

“中國犯罪組織與緬甸武裝團體勾結”,2020年4月20日

在緬泰界河湄伊河(Moei River)緬甸一側,三座新城在克倫族(Karen)的土地上拔地而起。不久前,這裡還是緬甸政府軍和克倫族武裝的戰場;現在,酒店、賭場和高級公寓在未審批的“經濟特區”如雨後春筍般不斷湧現。這些場所的所有人和經營者為隱秘的中國商業網絡和當地相互敵對的武裝團體。在開發新城的三份協議中,有兩份是在1月至3月間簽訂的,當時全世界都在關注新冠疫情。總共有157平方公里土地被中國公司控制,而這些公司從事賭博、洗錢和加密貨幣等業務,甚至還與犯罪網絡有聯繫……

克倫邦(Karen State)的居民對此已有警覺,他們擔心這些項目會破壞當地的社會制度,讓犯罪活動滲入經濟領域,阻礙經濟改革的進程,以及剝奪土著民的權利……

這三個項目背後的中國公司有幾個共同點:它們的管理層與犯罪組織有聯繫;它們開設賭場和從事加密貨幣業務;它們還稱加入了中國“一帶一路”項目(顯然不實),炫耀與中國政府部門的關係;它們在柬埔寨的經營活動受到了柬埔寨和中國政府的打擊……

克倫邊防警衛隊與在香港註冊的亞泰國際控股集團(Yatai International Holdings Group)在2017年7月簽署協議,合作承建亞泰新城項目(Shwekoko)……

賽西港產業園區(Saixigang Industrial Zone)是為了收留那些被中柬兩國執法部門趕出柬埔寨的中國公司。 (“賽西港”的中文意思是“勝過西港”,這直接表明了項目開發商的目標)……東美集團(Dongmei Group)與一名緬甸商人合作,承建了賽西港產業園區項目,也是該項目的主要投資方。

環亞國際城項目(Huanya International City Project)位於克倫民族聯盟控制區內的苗瓦迪鎮(Myawaddy)。克倫民族聯盟中央執行委員會成員和武裝部隊負責人紹羅欽(Saw Roger Khin)參與了該項目。中國投資方包括環亞公司(Huanya Company)和西哈努克省商協會聯合總會(the Association of Business Federations of Sihanoukville)……

這三個項目都沒有獲得緬甸投資委員會(the Myanmar Investment Commission)和國家經濟綜合協調委員會(the National Economic Coordination Commission)的批准,也沒有經過立法機構緬甸聯邦議會(the Union Parliament)的審議。有項目已經開始了博彩業的非正規運營,其中包括在線博彩。雖然緬甸政府打算以某種形式使博彩業合法化,但相關法律還未通過,政府還沒有發放賭場營業執照,這與中國投資方宣傳材料上的信息完全相反。

在公開宣傳中,三家公司宣稱在中國“一帶一路”框架下經營,而這可能會損害中國政府在緬甸和國際上的聲望。除了讓“一帶一路”蒙上犯罪的陰影,這些公司還可能給中國執法部門帶來極高的執法成本……

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Author: United States Institute of Peace

[此翻译由企业责任资源中心提供]

“中国犯罪组织与缅甸武装团体勾结”,2020年4月20日

在缅泰界河湄伊河(Moei River)缅甸一侧,三座新城在克伦族(Karen)的土地上拔地而起。不久前,这里还是缅甸政府军和克伦族武装的战场;现在,酒店、赌场和高级公寓在未审批的“经济特区”如雨后春笋般不断涌现。这些场所的所有人和经营者为隐秘的中国商业网络和当地相互敌对的武装团体。在开发新城的三份协议中,有两份是在1月至3月间签订的,当时全世界都在关注新冠疫情。总共有157平方公里土地被中国公司控制,而这些公司从事赌博、洗钱和加密货币等业务,甚至还与犯罪网络有联系……

克伦邦(Karen State)的居民对此已有警觉,他们担心这些项目会破坏当地的社会制度,让犯罪活动渗入经济领域,阻碍经济改革的进程,以及剥夺土著民的权利……

这三个项目背后的中国公司有几个共同点:它们的管理层与犯罪组织有联系;它们开设赌场和从事加密货币业务;它们还称加入了中国“一带一路”项目(显然不实),炫耀与中国政府部门的关系;它们在柬埔寨的经营活动受到了柬埔寨和中国政府的打击……

克伦边防警卫队与在香港注册的亚泰国际控股集团(Yatai International Holdings Group)在2017年7月签署协议,合作承建亚泰新城项目(Shwekoko)……

赛西港产业园区(Saixigang Industrial Zone)是为了收留那些被中柬两国执法部门赶出柬埔寨的中国公司。(“赛西港”的中文意思是“胜过西港”,这直接表明了项目开发商的目标)……东美集团(Dongmei Group)与一名缅甸商人合作,承建了赛西港产业园区项目,也是该项目的主要投资方。

环亚国际城项目(Huanya International City Project)位于克伦民族联盟控制区内的苗瓦迪镇(Myawaddy)。克伦民族联盟中央执行委员会成员和武装部队负责人绍罗钦(Saw Roger Khin)参与了该项目。中国投资方包括环亚公司(Huanya Company)和西哈努克省商协会联合总会(the Association of Business Federations of Sihanoukville)……

这三个项目都没有获得缅甸投资委员会(the Myanmar Investment Commission)和国家经济综合协调委员会(the National Economic Coordination Commission)的批准,也没有经过立法机构缅甸联邦议会(the Union Parliament)的审议。有项目已经开始了博彩业的非正规运营,其中包括在线博彩。虽然缅甸政府打算以某种形式使博彩业合法化,但相关法律还未通过,政府还没有发放赌场营业执照,这与中国投资方宣传材料上的信息完全相反。

在公开宣传中,三家公司宣称在中国“一带一路”框架下经营,而这可能会损害中国政府在缅甸和国际上的声望。除了让“一带一路”蒙上犯罪的阴影,这些公司还可能给中国执法部门带来极高的执法成本……

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