Farmers told to sell only to 'official' purchaser
Army units patrolling poppy fields in Shan State's south and east have already issued orders to the farmers to sell their forthcoming harvest only to their authorized buyers, said sources coming to the border.
On 29 October, fields in the 7 villages in Mongpiang's Mongpulong tract were inspected by a 50-strong column from Infantry Battalion 43, commanded by Capt Saw Win, and a 60-strong column of the local militia force commanded by Hpo Lu. Farmers later told S.H.A.N. they were "unambiguously" ordered not to sell their produce to anyone but Hpo Lu or his representative. "The punishment for disobedience", he was quoted as saying, "would be 3 viss of opium for every viss that is sold."
Hpo Lu is said to have 2 heroin refineries under his protection: one at Hwe Khikhark near the Namhsim, 5-6 miles south of Mong Pulong; and the other at Hwe Hsaleung, 4-5 miles northwest of Mong Pulong. Additional security is provided by Company 3, IB 43, commanded by Capt Aung Zeya.
It was also reported that Maj Htun Myint, Second inCommand, IB 248, led a joint column of 40 Burmese troops and 60-SNPLO fighters to inspect the fields west of Mongnai, 92 miles south west of Taunggyi, on 1 November, when the farmers were instructed to sell their output to the said ceasefire group. (SNPLO stands for Shan Nationaliteis People Liberation Organization, based in Nawnghtao, Hsihseng township, the western neighbor of Mongnai.)
The group, together with the local army units, Light Infantry Battalions 425 and 426, was reported in April to have 4 refineries under their protection, one of which was raided by drug official later in July, according to the New Light of Myanmar.
The price for new opium is between 190,000-200,000 kyat at present. "Old" opium, on the other hand, can be purchased in Mongton, opposite Chiangmai, at 250,000 kyat (10,000 baht).