The junta has given the Southern Shan State People’s Militia Force (PMF) the green light to open a gambling house in Homong, the former headquarters of Khun Sa’s Mong Tai Army. After the ethnic Chinese drug lord surrendered to the Than Shwe regime in 1996, some of his soldiers set up the PMF, which is under the Burma Army (BA).
A local man told SHAN that the gambling halls approved by BA and local government in Langkho Township were opened on 17 May and the Golden Umbrella Hoisting ceremony is planned until 8 June. The umbrella will be hoisted on the pagoda in Langkho town during the full moon.
A male youth from Tar Seik, requesting anonymity, said crime has increased since gambling started in nearby Tan Sang. He explained that when gamblers lose all their money, they try to borrow money and when they cannot, some people steal things from houses in the area.
“Many motorbikes and electricity cables have been stolen and cases of domestic violence have increased…After only one week since the gambling shops opened, some people have already lost $5,000. If gambling continues, our people will face many problems.”
The Namsang PMF and BA have been operating gambling dens in Namsang Township for several months.
Locals say the gambling will threaten the social fabric of their communities and weaken support for resistance groups such as the People’s Defence Forces, which are fighting to overthrow the dictatorship.