Thailand cuts power to Myanmar casinos, but they keep operating

A Thai state enterprise has cut off power to two border town casinos in Myanmar that allegedly host major organized crime operations.

The towns of Shwe Kokko and Lay Kay Kaw in Myanmar host gambling and entertainment complexes developed by Chinese investors accused of trafficking. There are also allegations that the complexes are hubs for drug dealings.

Power from Thailand’s Provincial Electricity Authority to the complexes was cut on June 6. This is according to a police chief in Thailand’s neighboring Mae Sot district.

He said business in the affected towns seemed to be carrying on with no disruption. The theory is, that the owners of the complexes had prepared for the situation by using their own generators. The casinos will probably be able to operate for the next few weeks on the installed generators.

Thai PBS reported that power at Shwe Kokko went out for about 30 seconds before being restored. The outer parts of the town remained dark. KK Park, a casino complex linked to cyberscam and forced labor, showed no signs of a blackout at all, the report said.

Thai Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda, said the power to the two towns was cut because the supply contract expired and Myanmar’s government declined to extend it. Thailand is ready to resume supplying power should Myanmar decide to renew the deal, he said.

Myanmar’s military government has not publicly explained its position on the matter.

Lawlessness, especially drug trafficking, flourishes in Myanmar’s border region because the central government is unable to fully exercise authority there.

Reports last week said the Myanmar government asked Thai authorities to cut the power supply to the casino areas. This prompted an inter-agency meeting on the Thai side to discuss the possible impacts.


About Miabell Mallikka

Miabell Mallikka is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Miabell Mallikka

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