See also:

Unique threat assessment of one of Southeast Asia's busiest trafficking corridors - Chiang Rai Thailand, East Shan Myanmar, Yunnan China

Jeremy Douglas United Nations UN UNODC Mekong ASEAN border security

Tachileik (Myanmar), 10 April 2015
- Chiefs of drug control authorities from China, Myanmar and Thailand, together with the Regional Representative of UNODC and a UNODC technical team, completed a week-long threat assessment of the Asian Highway R3B corridor connecting the three countries through the Golden Triangle. In-depth inspections were conducted of roads, bridges, check-points and border crossings in the first-ever multi-lateral review of one of the busiest trafficking corridors in Southeast Asia.

The Mae Sai Thailand - Tachileik Myanmar border is the busiest crossing point between the two countries and is increasingly used by transnational crime groups to traffic heroin, methamphetamine, precursor chemicals and people. Irregular migration is also rising at regular border crossings like Mai Sai - Tachileik, and it is estimated that one-third of irregular migrants are smuggled through official land check points.

Informal crossings are also taking place at many points along borders. Tachileik is a striking example where traffickers and migrants can simply wade across the Mai Sae River between Thailand and Myanmar during the dry season, or cross by small boat in the rainy season. UNODC estimates that over 450,000 migrants are smuggled from Myanmar into Thailand annually, and according to Thai authorities well over one billion methamphetamine pills (likely several times more) are trafficked aross the border from Myanmar into their country every year.

The challenges were highlighted by UNODC Representative Jeremy Douglas, who noted that, "the geography is an obvious challenge, and the capabilities of organized crime groups that have recently migrated operations into the Golden Triangle significantly exceed the capacity of front-line officers and agencies to counter them. The drug business in the region is changing very rapidly, and if we do not get ahead of the problem and improve cooperation the situation could rapidly deteriorate - particularly in Shan which has all the elements organized crime look for including special regions and autonomous areas under the control of independent militias. It is important we are going into Special Region 4 where we have particular concerns."

Jeremy Douglas United Nations UN UNODC Mekong ASEAN border security

The UNODC Regional Programme for Southeast Asia includes Sub-Programme 1 on Transnational Organised Crime and Illicit Trafficking, with an outcome area focused on strengthening cross-border law enforcement cooperation. The field review undertaken by heads of drug control authorities and UNODC representatives supports efforts under the Regional Programme, supporting countries commitments to the Mekong MOU on Drug Control, ASEAN drug and transnational organised crime control frameworks, and international agreements.

Tun Nay Soe United Nations UN UNODC Mekong China trafficking