1. Myanmar $1.704 Billion

  2. Black Market Crime in Myanmar

News, information and statistics about black market crime in Myanmar. Data about security risks and threat assessments about crimes in Myanmar are collected from public criminal justice information and intelligence reports.

A black market passport dealer from Myanmar who was working in Bangkok explained to a reporter about the illegal passport trade in Thailand. According to the dealer, there are three types of passports that are available for sale on the black market: Stolen passports, real passports that the owner is selling in order to make money, and fake passports.

The price of passports in Thailand depends on the issuing country. A passport from Myanmar (Burma) costs between $1,300 to $2,000 (40,000 Thai Baht to 60,000 Baht). Black market passports from European Union countries are available for sale for $2,600 (80,000 baht). The most expensive passports in Thailand are from the United States, which sell for $3,300 (100,000 baht).

(All statistics on fake ids and fake passports.)

Source:  Linn Thant, “Crackdown Under Way on Illicit Thai Passport Trade,” Irrawaddy, March 18, 2014.

According to data released by criminal justice programs, India is a main supplier of illegal narcotics to countries in South Asia.

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) reported that drugs and ingredients from India’s pharmaceutical industry is diverted to the black market. The illicit pharmaceutical pills are either trafficked domestically or smuggled on to the global black market.

In addition to prescription drugs, India provides most of the heroin that is consumed in Bangladesh. Most of the cannabis that is consumed in Bangladesh and Nepal is also produced in India and smuggled across the border.

Most of the ephedrine and pseudoephedrine uses to make meth in Myanmar is believed to have originated from India as well.

The rate of opium seizures in India has grown in the last three years. In 2009, government security agencies seized about 1.7 tonnes of opium in India. In 2012, over 3 tonnes of opium was seized.

14 kilograms of cocaine was seized in India in 2011. In 2012, the amount of cocaine seized tripled to 42 kilograms.

Source:  “Prescription drug abuse growing in India: UN report,” Indian Express, March 5, 2014.

Between 2009 and 2012, security services in India arrested 820 foreign nationals for drug trafficking crimes. Nearly 80 percent of those arrested came from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal and Nigeria.

In the four year time period, data from criminal justice programs shows that 224 Nepalis were arrested for drug trafficking in India, followed by 191 Nigerians, 173 people from Myanmar and 32 people from Afghanistan.

The top drugs trafficked by the foreign nationals included marijuana and hashish, followed by heroin and cocaine.

Source:  Chethan Kumar, “Papa Joes thrive despite tough measures against drug cartels,” Times of India, December 20, 2013.


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that 870 metric tons of opium was produced in Myanmar in 2013. The amount produced is 26 percent higher than the 2012 production levels.

Myanmar is the world’s second largest producer of opium after Afghanistan, which produced 5,500 metric tons of opium in 2013.

Heroin trafficking and opium has been increasing in East and Southeast Asia, according to the UNODC. In 2010, criminal justice agencies seized 6.5 metric tons of heroin in the region. In 2012, over 9 metric tons were seized. Opium seizures also increased, with 2 metric tons seized in 2010, compared to 2.7 metric tons in 2012.

(Cost to buy heroin per gram worldwide.)

Source:  Associated Press, “UN: Poverty Pushing Myanmar Opium Output Higher,” ABC News, December 18, 2013.

The Myanmar Timber Merchants Association reports that its members lose up to $200 Million per year in revenue due to illegal logging activities.

The timber is illegally cut down and exported to China.

According to environmental security officials, the areas were illegally logging are highly active is in the Kachina and Shan states that are located near the Myanmar-China border.

Source:  “Millions lost in illegal timber trade with China,” Eleven Myanmar, December 4, 2013.

According to figures released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 227 million methamphetamine pills were seized across East and Southeast Asia in 2012. The number of pills seized was a 59 percent increase from the 142 million seized in 2011.

Back in 2007, criminal justice programs seized 25 million pills across East and Southeast Asia.

102.2 million meth pills in 2012 were seized in China, followed by Thailand with 95.3 million meth pills seized, and Myanmar had 18.2 million pills seized.

(Price of Meth by country.)

Source:  Associated Press, “UN Says Asia Meth Seizures Hit Highs in 2012,” ABC News, November 8, 2013.

According to government statistics, over 43 million kilograms of jade was produced in Myanmar during the fiscal 2011 to 2012 year. Based on a conservative estimate by Reuters, the jade would have been worth $4.3 Billion. Less than 1 percent, or $34 Million worth of jade was officially reported to have been exported out of the country.

Financial and security analysts claim that nearly half of the jade ends up being smuggled into China. The jade is smuggled by truck through territory controlled by the Myanmar military or the Kachin Independence Army. Both groups collect a tax from the smuggled jade from black market sales that contributes to the conflict between the military and the KIA.

Source:  Andrew R.C. Marshall and Min Zayar Oo, “Special Report: Myanmar old guard clings to $8 billion jade empire,” Reuters, September 29, 2013.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports that China (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) consume 70 percent of all the heroin that is abused in the East Asia and Pacific Region.

Up to 65 tonnes of heroin is used by addicts in China each year. In order to meet the demand, 90 percent of all heroin that is produced in the Golden Triangle (Laos, Myanmar and Thailand) is trafficked to China. Laos has also begun increasing its opium production, with an increase of 66 percent of opium farming taking place in the country in 2011.

Criminal justice and public health programs in China have officially registered 1.2 million heroin addicts in the country.

(Price of heroin by country.)

Source:  David Elmer, “It’s happy hour for the heroin traffickers of the Golden Triangle,” South China Morning Post, September 26, 2013.

Between January and September 2013, the criminal justice system in Myanmar reported that 200 to 400 people in the country fell victim to human trafficking. Most of the victims were women and children. Police were actively investigating up to 200 cases of human trafficking in September 2013.

Security officials claim that demands for brides in China are a major contributor to human trafficking of women in Myanmar. When a Chinese man marries a Chinese woman, the dowries can be nearly $1 Million. Young women from Myanmar can be bought from traffickers for as little as $700, with “high quality” brides being purchased for $7,300.

(More human trafficker prices.)

Source:  “Bride trafficking to China on the rise,” Eleven Myanmar, September 18, 2013.

People smugglers operating in Australia were charging asylum seekers up to $10,000 to be smuggled into Australia, according to reports from criminal justice programs.

In 2012, police identified 278 boats that was carrying  asylum seekers and operated by people smugglers. In the first six months of 2013, nearly 196 boats were identified by police.

Data from various criminal justice programs across the country found that most of the people paying smugglers to be brought into Australia originate from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

(Additional prices charged by human smugglers.)

Source:  “Arrests over people-smuggling in Australia,” Al Jazeera, August 29, 2013.