Officials in Myanmar’s Karen State Face Sanctions Due to Gambling Project

Posted on: December 11, 2023, 08:36h. 

Last updated on: December 11, 2023, 08:36h.

Myanmar is embroiled in an unofficial civil war, heavily influenced by attempts to eliminate the gambling scene in the country. This has led to the US, UK, and other nations imposing sanctions on two top officials linked to a major gambling operation.

Colonel Saw Chit Thu with his entourage traveling through Kayin
Colonel Saw Chit Thu with his entourage traveling through Kayin. The leader of Myanmar’s Border Guard Force faces new sanctions for his ties to illegal gambling. (Image: Frontier Myanmar)

Colonel Saw Chit Thu, a high-ranking official linked to the Burmese junta-tied Border Guard Force (BGF), and two other individuals were slapped with sanctions from the UK recently. The measures stem from their alleged involvement in the Shwe Kokko town in Kayin (formerly Karen) State and their involvement in crimes related to human trafficking and forced labor.

Cracking Down on Fraud Farms

The UK exposed nine individuals and five companies tied to internet-based “fraud farms” in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar and issued sanctions against Saw Chit Thu and others. These restrictions include asset freezes and travel bans. The UK believes the three individuals and others forced victims into slave labor and subjected them to torture and exploitation.

The United Nations estimates that around 120,000 individuals in Myanmar and 100,000 in Cambodia are victims of forced labor and human trafficking.

Shwe Kokko Survives Attempts to Shut it Down

The Shwe Kokko Project is a collaboration between Chit Lin Myaing Co and Yatai International Holding Group, a Hong Kong-based company. The BGF is allegedly tied to Chit Lin Myaing Co, generating significant revenue through illegal activities, including human trafficking and online gambling.

Last year, She Zhijiang was arrested in Thailand for allegedly managing an internet-based casino. Despite the arrest, Shwe Kokko remains operational.

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