Who is Michael Kyaw Myint Hua Hu?
During a February interview, Michael Kyaw Myint Hua Hu provided a five-page biography that purports to tell the “true story” of his life.
It states that Hu was a loyal member of the Communist Party of Burma (now Myanmar) in the late 1980s. As a commander in the CPB army, he fought many fierce battles against insurgent groups, but later became disillusioned with the communist party and switched sides.
He gained control of a militia group in the Mong Koe region and began fighting against the CPB army. But his troops faced serious supply shortages and he became concerned that his junior commanders would revolt, so he initiated a cease-fire agreement. Other insurgent groups followed his lead and peace returned to the country.
In 1993, the biography states, he established a company called Kyone Yeom Co. Ltd., which was engaged in mining, forestry and border trade with China. He also joined the management team of Prime Commercial Bank, which financed major construction and development projects across the country.
However, when he pressed the government to share power with opposition groups, the government shut down his business and threw him in prison.
After more than a year in jail, he escaped and fled to Thailand. From there, he moved with his wife and two children to the United States, and eventually to Vancouver, where he created NAH Developments (which invests in unspecified businesses) and founded the United Democratic Party of Burma.
His ambition is to return to Burma, run for political office during elections next year, and help take the country “back to normal.”
This is the authorized biography. Media reports tell a radically different story.
According to a January 1997 article in AsiaWeek, the ceasefire agreements gave insurgents the right to keep their weapons, administer their respective areas, and conduct business. One of those insurgent groups was the United Wa State Army which, according to AsiaWeek, was heavily involved in heroin trafficking.
In this “lush new business environment,” the magazine reported, “it was not long before the United Wa State Army had evolved into what the U.S. State Department described as the world’s largest armed narcotics trafficking organization.”
To launder its drug proceeds, AsiaWeek reported, the army set up KyoneYeomGroup,withHuasgroup chairman.
Jane’s Intelligence Review reported in November 1998 that, “Michael Hu Hwa Hu (aka Colonel Kyaw Myint), who claimed to be a deputy minister of finance of the United Wa State Army, openly and brazenly flouted Burmese business laws and regulations,” prompting the Burmese government to shut down the company and throw him in jail.
Hu’s authorized biography, which he urged The Sun to report, refers to these allegations and dismisses them as “false information.”
“People want to damage his reputation … so they labeled and accused him as someone who [is] rich and successful because of drug trafficking,” it states.
Explaining how he got to Vancouver, Hu said during our February interview that after he escaped from prison, he worked as a “consultant” for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, providing intelligence on drug trafficking in Burma.
In 2000, he said, the DEA helped him obtain political asylum in the United States. He moved to New Jersey, but soon became disenchanted with the proliferation of weapons and the high incidence of violence.
Hu said that in 2002 he sought and obtained political asylum in Canada, moving initially to Toronto, then Brandon, Man., and finally to Vancouver in 2004. He now lives in Surrey with his wife and four children.
“I’m not a drug or fraud person,” he says. “Canadian RCMP and U.S. FBI know it.”