Merchants of Madness: The Methamphetamine Explosion in the Golden Triangle
For decades, Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Burma intersect, has been infamous for its opium and heroin production. But in the 1990s, the drug gangs in the Golden Triangle began to produce methamphetamine, a synthetic narcotic that is not dependent on
an unreliable crop like the opium poppy. The drug has become known as ya ba in Thailand – "madness medicine." The drug makes users hyperactive and often aggressive, breaking them down mentally as well as physically. It has led to murders, stabbings, and the kidnappings of innocent people.
Who are the merchants of this madness? Bertil Lintner and Michael Black's answer is based on two decades of extensive research including first-hand accounts of the drug trade from law enforcement officers, intelligence officials, and sources close to the drug traffickers. Their exposť reveals how the Golden Triangle drug trade has grown to become a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise.
Bertil Lintner is a journalist based in northern Thailand. Michael Black is a Thailand-based freelance writer.
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addicts amphetamines arms arrested Asia World Bang Ron Bangkok Post Bao Youxiang became Boten British Burma Burma's military Burmese Burmese army Burmese government casino Chao Ngi Chiang China commander Communist Party Company cpb's drug lords drug trade drug traffickers foreign former cpb frontier Golden Triangle groups headquarters heroin Hills Hong Kong Hong Pang Htang Huay Xai India insurgency involved Irrawaddy Kachin Karen Kengtung Khin Nyunt Khun Sa's Kokang laboratories Lahu Laos leaders Lin Mingxian methamphetamine Michael Black militia million Mong mutiny Myanmar narcotics National nationalists Naypyidaw northeastern northern Thailand official operation opium trade Panghsang Party of Burma percent police political Rangoon rebel region renminbi Saw Lu Shan State Army Shan United Shwe smuggling soldiers Southeast Asia Tachilek Thai Thai authorities Thai border thousand town troops unodc uwsa Wei Xuegang Wei's yaba yaba pills Yawt Serk Yunnan Zhang