US places more sanctions on Myanmar business


Washington : The US has announced additional sanctions against business interests in Myanmar that support that country’s military regime, citing the Southeast Asian nation’s continued repression and jailing of democratic activists.

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The US Treasury Monday placed economic sanctions on Steven Law, his father, Lo Hsing Han, and his wife, Cecilia Ng, as well as various companies in which they are involved, calling them “key financial operatives of the Burmese regime”.

It also placed additional sanctions on the business network of Tay Za, a business tycoon and arms dealer who it has previously sanctioned for his ties to the regime.

US President George W. Bush said the situation in Myanmar was “deplorable” and called for democracy in the nation that saw its government crack down on Buddhist monks and pro-democracy demonstrators last September.

“As one element of our policy to promote a genuine democratic transition, the US maintains targeted sanctions that focus on the assets of regime members and their cronies who grow rich while Burma’s people suffer under their misrule,” Bush said in a statement.

The department said Asia World Co Ltd, which Law runs, and its subsidiaries have provided support to the junta by receiving contracts for building ports, highways and government facilities. It also noted Lo Hsing Han’s ties to heroin trafficking since the 1960s.

Tay Za’s hotel chain’s Aureum Palace Hotels & Resorts and Myanmar Treasure Resorts were also singled out.

The move freezes assets held by the parties in US jurisdiction and prohibits US citizens from engaging in business with them.

The White House insisted the regime release Aung San Suu Kyi, the leading democratic activist and 1991 Nobel peace winner who has been held under house arrest in Yangon since 2003, and other pro-democracy advocates, and end military offensives and human rights abuses against minorities.

The sanctions announced Monday add to the 33 people and 11 companies already placed under such measures since last year. Additionally, visa restrictions have been placed on nearly 900 officials and their families, the White House said.