Burma Times Special Report: June 20, 2015
These days Hasan (not his real name) from Bangladesh spends his days depressed, and penniless. Once a promising student at one of Bangladesh’s leading universities, his life has taken a u-turn for the worse. Many youngsters of Bangladesh who once had a bright future ahead of them have fallen into the yaba trap bringing woe unto themselves and their families.
In recent weeks, Bangladesh Border Guard intensified anti yaba operations in the border region resulting in the recovery of thousands of pills. This has not sat well with Burmese authorities deeply involved with the trafficking business.
Currently there are 37 identified yaba producing factories in different parts of the country that fulfills Bangladesh’s yaba appetite. In September 2012, the Bangladesh authorities urged their Burmese counterparts to shut down the factories in a high level meeting.
However Burmese military officials have traditionally been involved in the drug trade and will lose out financially if the Bangladesh government cracks down on yaba. Many in Bangladesh also profit from the deadly narcotics business but the enterprise is not as organised and all pervasive as in Burma. Burmese drag barons with their international clout and influence dwarf Bangladesh smugglers. Those who back these drug barons e.g. the military officials running the country are even more powerful.
From Thailand to Bangladesh
Burmese drug smugglers shifted their focus from Thailand to Bangladesh after 2005. From 2003, Thai authorities cracked down heavily on yaba smugglers almost eliminating the use of the deadly drug in the country. But since then, Burmese smugglers have found a growing market in Bangladesh.
A decade ago, few in Bangladesh had heard of yaba, nowadays the drug is easily available throughout the country. One tablet costs roughly 6300 kyats. Addicts are likely to have more than one tablet per day.
Burmese military officials and militia groups who once profited from heroin trade has shifted much of their focus to yaba production and smuggling. Bangladesh has borne the full fury of this drug, which translates into the ‘crazy medicine’.