KATHMANDU: More than $US839 million ($1.2 billion) worth of seized illegal drugs have been destroyed in Myanmar to mark the annual International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Myanmar, along with Laos and Thailand is part of South-East Asia’s Golden Triangle and has long been a hub of illicit drug trafficking, and production is now on an industrial scale.
The country’s vast, mountainous and forested borders mean producers can move large quantities of cheaply produced drugs into neighbouring countries with little fear of capture.
Black plumes of smoke filled the sky in Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, as a massive pile of drugs worth an estimated $144 million went up in a spectacular blaze.
It included opium, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, ketamine and the stimulant known as ice, or crystal meth.
The blaze burned so fiercely it threatened to set fire to an awning set up for the occasion that firefighters hurriedly doused with water hoses.