Khun Sa


Khun Sa
   (Chang Chi-Fu, 1934- )
   Born in Loimaw, northern Shan State to a Chinese father and a Shan mother, Chang first became prominent as the commander of the Loimaw Ka Kwe Ye in 1963. He soon became a powerful figure in the opium trade but was defeated in a Burma-Thailand-Laos border area "opium war" by Kuomintang (Guomindang) rivals and was arrested and jailed by the Ne Win regime in 1969. His loyal supporters captured Soviet physicians as hostages in Taunggyi, Shan State, and used them to negotiate his release from prison in 1974. Using the Shan name Khun Sa ("prince of prosperity"), he rebuilt his power base along the Thai-Burma border and became Lo Hsing-han's successor as "king of the Golden Triangle." By the early 1990s, his Mong Tai Army (MTA, an amalgamation of smaller armed groups) was one of Burma's most powerful border area insurgencies, and the government of the United States demanded Khun Sa's extradition from Burma as a drug trafficker. Khun Sa posed as a Shan patriot, but his sincerity was doubted even before he signed a cease-fire with the State Law and Order Restoration Council in January 1996. The subsequent dismantling of the MTA altered the balance of power in central Shan State, enabling the Tatmadaw to carry out harsh pacification of the region, including the forced relocation of as many as 300,000 Shans. Khun Sa retired to Rangoon (Yangon), where he manages several lucrative businesses.
   See also Drug Economy.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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