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June 21, 2017

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Chinese banks block Myanmar traders

CHINESE banks have frozen the accounts of more than 100 commodities traders in northeast Myanmar in a bid to clamp down on smuggling and illegal gambling, state media reported yesterday.

Myanmar’s government has been negotiating with Chinese officials since the accounts were suspended last week by three banks in Yunnan Province, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar.

Many of the accounts belonged to Myanmar merchants who trade foodstuffs, such as rice and pulses, which are often exported to China through the border town of Muse in eastern Shan state.

“These accounts were frozen after their (China’s) crackdown on 27 illegal rice trading gangs in recent days,” said Soe Tun, vice chairman of the Myanmar Rice Federation.

He estimated that up to 1,000 accounts had been frozen — a figure not immediately confirmed by the three Chinese banks: the Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Myanmar state media said some of the accounts were also suspended over “possible links to illegal Internet gambling.”

The Chinese embassy in Yangon said the accounts had been closed to “combat illegal border trading” and it was working with both sides to resolve the issue.


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