Hpa-an Photo Set: BGF production and sale of yaba in T’Nay Hsah and Ta Kreh townships


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Hpa-an Photo Set: BGF production and sale of yaba in T’Nay Hsah and Ta Kreh townships

Published date:
Thursday, July 4, 2013


This photo set includes three still photographs selected from images taken by a KHRG community member; one was taken in April 2013 and two were taken in June 2012. The photographs were taken in T’Nay Hsah Township, Hpa-an District and depict a tablet form of methamphetamine for sale, which is known locally as yaba, meaning ‘crazy medicine’ in Thai. The yaba pictured below was manufactured and sold by the Border Guard Force (BGF) Battalion #1016’s commander, Mya Khaing, who is based in T’Nay Hsah Township. According to the community member who took these photos, the sale of the drug is pervasive throughout T’Nay Hsah and Ta Kreh townships and has seriously harmed many teenage villagers’ lives and put some families in debt as a result.

Photo Set | T’Nay Hsah Township, Hpa-an District (July 2012 to April 2013)

The following photos were taken by a villager in Hpa-an District who has been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. They are presented below, censored where necessary for security purposes. [1] The three photos below were received along with other information from Hpa-an District, including 532 additional photos and four video clips.[2]


[1] KHRG trains villagers in eastern Burma to document individual human rights abuses using a standardised reporting format; conduct interviews with other villagers; and write general updates on the situation in areas with which they are familiar. When writing situation updates, villagers are encouraged to summarise recent events, raise issues that they consider to be important, and present their opinions or perspective on abuse and other local dynamics in their area.

[2] When these documents have been processed and translated by KHRG and when sufficient information has been compiled and analysed, a full Field Report on the situation in Hpa-an District will be available on the KHRG website. Until then, KHRG’s most recent analysis of the situation in Hpa-an District can be found in the recent Field Report, “Hpa-an Situation Update: T’Nay Hsah Township, June 2012 to February 2013,” KHRG, June 2013.

[3] Yaba, which means 'crazy medicine' in Thai, is a tablet form of methamphetamine. Introduced to East Asia during World War II to enhance soldiers' performance, methamphetamine has become increasingly popular in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia Vietnam, and in Burma where it is typically manufactured; see "Yaba, the 'crazy medicine' of East Asia," UNODC, May 2008.

[4] Border Guard Force (BGF) battalions of the Tatmadaw were established in 2010, and they are composed mostly of soldiers from former non-state armed groups, such as older constellations of the DKBA, which have formalised ceasefire agreements with the Burmese government and agreed to transform into battalions within the Tatmadaw. BGF battalions are assigned four digit battalion numbers, whereas regular Tatmadaw infantry or light infantry battalions are identified by two or three-digit battalion numbers. For more information, see “DKBA officially becomes Border Guard Force” Democratic Voice of Burma, August 2010, and, “Exploitation and recruitment under the DKBA in Pa’an District,” KHRG, June 2009.

[5] This information was included in one unpublished interview submitted to KHRG by a community member in Hpa-an District. The interview was conducted by KHRG’s Field Director when he visited G--- village, Htee Hpoh Kyaw village tract, Nabu Township, Hpa-an District in July 2012.