Yangon Myanmar (Formerly Burma) Jan 2007:

The military Junta is once again breaking the law. It has seized many imported cars (supposedly cars that were illegally imported). Among the vehicles seized include ones owned by Ye Naing Win :son of ousted PM General Khin Nyunt and Thargyi: son of ousted Irrigation Minister Maj. General Nyunt Tin. These vehicles are then being handed out to senior members of the government.

According to a very reliable source, (who must remain anonymous) each Major General and Minister level official gets a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV and lower levels get 1 SUV plus a Van or Saloon car for their family use.

These illegal vehicles were mostly smuggled from Thailand and China, interestingly enough mostly by former military intelligence agents.

The government has estimated that there may be as many as 15,000 illegally imported cars inside the country; however experts say that number could be three times the estimate.

These cars are known locally as WITHOUT (without registration cars).

Even more disturbing is that some people think that this is a government sponsored and encouraged scam. A blind eye is turned at the time of importation; it is only about 3 years later that the vehicles are seized. Which corresponds rather nicely with the need to replace the government’s old vehicles.

Note from Simon: It takes great courage to go the extra mile and write this kind of article. Myanmar heavily censors internet access, and so our author is risking his liberty by sharing this story.

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