The Karen National Union (KNU) issued a statement by General Secretary Pado Saw Tado Mu on Feb. 26, responding to a letter from civil society groups calling for action against KNU Central Committee members over controversial Chinese economic projects in its territory. Pado Saw Tado Mu wrote that the KNU is ready to have an “open and friendly meeting” with the 68 Karen civil society groups that signed and sent the letter to the KNU on Feb. 23.
The letter demands action be taken against members of the KNU Central Committee over the involvement of some of its top officials in “underground” projects operated by Chinese companies linked to organized crime. KNU Central Executive Committee member Padoh Saw Roger Khin reportedly approved of the Huanya International City Project in Myawaddy. The letter also pointed out that Padoh Saw Roger Khin attended the opening ceremony of the “China City Development/ Gambling Zone” project on Feb. 1, 2022, in Maw Hto Thale area in KNU territory. The KNU has not yet released information regarding its involvement in these projects, the letter stated. It also noted that KNU Chairperson General Saw Mutu Say Poe accepted an honorary award from Burma’s military junta. The KNU issued an additional statement regarding the public’s “misunderstandings” about the projects in Karen State. The KNU vowed that it would never take part in “illegal gambling enterprises” and other “crime-related businesses” in its territories.