Local works are lured into Chinese-run Shwe Kokko’s new city scams and casinos Near Myawaddy Myanmar-Thai border

According to residents, many numerous foreign youths are employed in the casino networks of Shwe Kokko town, situated in Karen State north of Myawaddy, which is under the control of the Border Guard Force (BGF) affiliated with the military regime.

The Shwe Kokko new city complex sits on a bend of the Thaung Yin River that divides Myanmar from Thailand.

It is 16 kilometres north of the trade hub of Myawaddy, opposite the Thai city of Mae Sot. It is known as the Myanmar-Yatai Shwe Kokko Special Economic Zone and been in operation since 2017.But is only since the coup that this project – a collaborative effort between Yatai International Holding Group and the BGF, led by Colonel Saw Chit Thu has only started to flourish since the coup.

According to a local resident, numerous young people primarily from regions such as Taunggyi, Yangon, and Ayeyarwady, are employed in casinos and other mostly-Chinese -run operations jointly owned by BGF leaders and businessmen from China and Thailand. The basic salary for these jobs is reportedly over 10,000 baht.

“ Among the young Myanmar workers they mostly come here instead of looking for work in Bangkok. If you start working at a casino, your salary will be over 10,000 baht. The main thing is to be proficient in Chinese and computers. Many people come from Taunggyi, Yangon, and the Ayeyarwady,” he told KIC adding that “ apart from local workers, hundreds of workers from some of Myanmar’s neighboring countries are also working there.”

The Gambling operations and other workplaces in the Shwe Kokko new city project, are notorious for a wide spectrum of human rights violations including: human trafficking, forced labor, and physical abuse of workers as well as on-line scams.

Many foreign workers from Myanmar’s neighbors Thailand, Laos, and Indonesia who are working at the new city project, have been forced to commit financial fraud online, and those who refused were subjected to physical abuse and torture, according to foreign media reports. They are all paid in Chinese Yuan.

An anonymous witness reported that while traveling to Shwe Kokko village, they had to pass through approximately five Border Guard Force (BGF) checkpoints. However, vehicles carrying Chinese nationals were not inspected at the BGF checkpoints, while other cars were checked.

“The other cars are checked. The car we were in was not checked. We went with the Chinese from Shwe Kokko. If we went with them, we were not checked. As for the other cars, everyone got off when they arrived at the gate. There were about 5 gates,” he told KIC.

Part of the casino gangs in Shwe Kokko town, there are cases where women from different areas are recruited by the workers themselves to work in the casino through the online system.

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