Khun Sa, the Most Dangerous Mafia in Southeast Asia

IMPERIUMDAILY.COM-MYANMAR – It is said that upon hearing the name Khun Sa, residents at the border of three countries, Thailand, Myamar and Laos immediately shuddered. Because Khun Sa is a military commander known as General Opium for being an opium smuggler in the Golden Triangle region which borders the three countries.

Although his name makes people shudder, there are also some who call him the Prince of Prosperity. Then who exactly is the mafia boss who once succeeded in this 70-80s?

His real name is Chang Chi Fu, but he is more popularly called Khun Sa or Prince of Prosperity. His father’s name was Lao Chang or Khun Sam. Lao is from Yunnan, South China. When he was young he was a member of the Chinese nationalist army, the Kuomintang who fled to Myanmar when the Kuomintang General, Chiang Kai Shek, was driven away by Chinese communist forces Mao Tse-Tung. While living in the state of Shan, Myanmar, Lao was married to an ethnic Shan majority in Myanmar-Thailand-Laos.

Khun Sa was born in Loi Mo City, Shan state in February 1933. He is married to a Thai, Khe Yoon. Khun Sa was able to marry Khe Yoon because in 1976 he became a Thai citizen by the name, Chang Chantrakul. Khun Sa holds a bachelor’s degree at a college in Tong Khi, the capital of Shan State.

In his youth he was trained by Kuomintang troops. These troops fled from Yunnan, South China, to the Myanmar-Thailand border in Shan State. In 1963, he joined the local militia loyal to General Myanmar, Ne Win. This local militia was named Kwe Ka Ye (KKY). Militias were formed to fight communist rebels in Shan state. Since joining this KKY Khun Sa started trading opium. When KKY was under his control, Khun Sa began to crawl into the opium general.

Because of his illegal activities, Khun Sa was arrested by the Myanmar government in Tong Khi in 1966. He was jailed for seven years there. But after only three years in prison, his friend at KKY, Chang Chien Xu aka Fa Lun, took hostage two Soviet doctors who worked in the Shan capital, Tongee. Khun Sa was released and exchanged with the two doctors. After having 800 militias, Khun Sa stopped working with the Myanmar government and controlled the opium trade in Shan and Wa states.

In 1976 Khun Sa re-smuggled opium and began to headquartered in the village of Ban Hin Taek. He changed the name of his group to the Shan State Army (Shan State Army/SSA). His troops were armed with M-16 and AK 47 rifles. With the excuse of fighting for Shan autonomy against Myanmar, Khun Sa became the opium general. In October 1981, at the urging of the US Drug Enforcement Agency, 39 Thai soldiers and Myanmar guerrillas tried to kill Khun Sa, but failed. However, in January 1982 the Thai army and border police succeeded in driving Khun Sa and his troops from their base in Ban Hin Taek.

In 1985, Khun Sa joined Moh Heng’s army. This alliance of forces was finally under his control. They controlled Mae Hong Son on the Thai-Myanmar border. Then in 1989 Khun Sa was accused of a New York, US court of importing 1,000 tons of heroin. Khun Sa then threatened the US to buy all of its opium products, or he would dump it on the international black market.

However, the US responded with the lure of two million dollars to those who could catch Khun Sa. Out of concern, Khun Sa surrendered to the Myanmar government in January 1996. After surrendering, the Myanmar government never gave Khun Sa to the US.

Khun Sa spent the rest of his life in Yangoon (formerly Rangoon). He invested his capital in Yangoon, Mandalay, and Taunggyi. Khun Sa died on October 26, 2007 in Yangoon at the age of 73 and was buried in the Yeway Cemetery, North Okkalapa, Yangoon. (wikipedia/aka)

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