Myanmar junta hosts bonfire of narcotics

Myanmar's military junta incinerated US$1.4 billion ( Ђ 1.1 billion) worth of heroin and other drugs in a giant bonfire organized for foreign diplomats to show the country's commitment to cleaning up its image as a drug haven.

Diplomats from Thailand, China, the Philippines and Japan, among other Asian countries, attended the ceremony Wednesday in northeastern Myanmar where drug enforcement officials torched a massive cocktail of narcotics confiscated since the beginning of the year.

It included about 55 kilograms (120 pounds) of heroin, over 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of opium, thousands of stimulant tablets and thousands of liters of chemicals used to make narcotics.

Police Maj. Gen. Khin Yi said the drugs, burned in the northeastern town of Keng Tun, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) from the Thai border, were seized in cooperation with Thai and Chinese authorities.

"Myanmar will continue to do its utmost with or without external assistance to overcome the threat posed by drugs to the country and the international community at large," he said.

Myanmar is the world's second-largest producer of opium and its derivative, heroin, after Afghanistan. The Southeast Asian nation has set a goal of being opium-free by 2014, reports the AP.


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