Leaders of Chinese Cyber- Scam Central in Myanmar – Shwe Kokko Return to Business as Usual After Brief Lull Myawaddy

Wealthy Chinese who are part of the scam operations and trafficking mafia, who run the notorious Shwe Kokko casino complex have returned to this town, situated around 20 kilometers south of Myawaddy Township in Karen State, after a temporarily absence.

A recent resurgence of online scamming (Zhapian) activities has emerged following a lull in operations during a period of many cyber-scam operations in northern Shan State being terminated by the highly successful sweep of anti-junta 1027 offensive.

China had exerted pressure to get a number of Chinese citizens operating cyber-scams to be detained by the Three Brotherhood Alliance and repatriated, given that Beijing’s pressure on the Junta had failed to get concrete results.

Over the past year, Shwe Kokko faced disruptions in the electricity supply from Thailand, and Wi-Fi internet services, alongside a arrests in Shan State of individuals involved in Chinese online scamming ventures. Chinese nationals who had temporarily fled the town are now returning to Shwe Kokko. Since early March certain Chinese online scamming business owners have resumed operations in the outskirts of Shwe Kokko and around Myawaddy.

A Shwe Kokko resident said “Currently, there are a lot of Chinese people back in town, including some who relocated from Laukkai (northern Shan State). It seems that previously closed online scamming operations, have started operating again. There has been an improvement in the power supply duration in Shwe Kokko lately. There is also talk circulating that the town will have continuous electricity by the end of May”.

Currently, preparations for the Thingyan (Myanmar traditional water festival) are underway in Shwe Kokko, with pavilions being constructed and meticulously arranged for the upcoming festivities.

On the other hand, the Karen Border Guard Force (BGF), in control of Shwe Kokko, has declared its separation from the Junta and plans to evolve into the Karen National Army (KNA). As a consequence, concerns have arisen among the local population regarding the possibility of increased military conflicts in the region.

Since June 6, 2022, Thailand’s suspension of power supply to the Shwe Kokko and Ingyinmyaing areas, known for their dense concentration of online gambling businesses and casinos along the Thailand-Myanmar border, had resulted in halted or reduced operations.

A Thai journalist has drawn attention to what he dubbed as The Crime Corridor that operates along this section of the Mae Sot Thai- Myanmar border. Journalist Paskorn Jumlongrach pointed out in the Transborder News , “Both politicians in the parliament and former high-ranking police officials serve as a conduit to such Chinese mafia,” which facilitates the daily commerce of Shwe Kokko and other scam operations across the Mae Sot border.

It is surely not just a coincidence that, at the same time that some of Shwe Kokko’s Chinese cyber- scam operators returned this month via the Thai Mae Sot border to resume their shady business, locals reported the critical power supply from Thailand’s Tak Province, previously suspended (or reduced) had now been restored.

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