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Sun, Aug 19, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Local man receives the death penalty in Myanmar court

REUTERS , YANGON

A Myanmar court has sentenced a Taiwanese citizen to death for trying to smuggle heroin out of the country, state-owned media reported yesterday.

Drug-squad officials found 500g of heroin when searching the man, identified by state media as Yu Ming-yu, while he was waiting to board a flight to Taipei in early June.

The 45-year-old man was sentenced to death by a Yangon district court on July 31. Since Myanmar's military government introduced strict penalties for drug offenders in 1993, 16 traffickers have been sentenced to death.

It was the first narcotics seizure at Yangon airport this year.

According to official figures, 406 people were arrested in Myanmar on drug-related cases in June.

Authorities say they seized 2.639kg of heroin and 2.5 million metamphetamine tablets in also in June.

Myanmar's efforts to fight drug production and trafficking have received a mixed reaction from the international community.

Earlier this year relations between Myanmar and neighboring Thailand deteriorated as the two countries traded accusations of backing drug-running ethnic groups along their common border. But the countries have since agreed to cooperate in the fight against drugs, together with Laos and China.

US authorities have placed Myanmar on a blacklist of countries deemed to be doing so little to stop drug production that they deserve virtually no foreign aid.

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