Grades College, Adult
Produced by Adrian Cowell with WGBH/Frontline
DVD Purchase $195, Rent $75
VHS Purchase $195, Rent $75
US Release Date: 1996
Copyright Date: 1996
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-678-0
VHS ISBN: 1-56029-677-1
Awards and Festivals
Gold CINDY, International Broadcast Documentary
The Heroin Wars Series|
The Opium Convoys
Lo Hsing-Han, Khun Sa and the beginning of the war on drugs in Burma.
The first program in the series "The Heroin Wars" picks up the story in the 1960s when the Burmese Army seized power in a coup sweeping aside the constitution and Parliament. The Shans, who had only recently joined the Burmese Union, began their war of independence. Opium was the Shan farmers' only source of ready money and the guerillas began to take 10% of the crop as a tax and transported it in convoys to Thailand to buy guns. And so a deadly alliance was born.
In the 1970s, as part of Richard Nixon's War on Drugs, the US joined in an all-out attack on the convoys and, using the Thai police, sent an invitation to Lo Hsing-Han, the first "King of Opium", to negotiate an end to the opium trade, only to have him arrested and thereby ensure that the opium trade would continue unabated under the second "King of Opium", Khun Sa.
Other titles in the series are:
Smack City - Hong Kong, the drug capital of southeast Asia for the last century.
The Kings of Opium - Khun Sa changes sides in the narcotics carousel.
"Proving, again, that truth is far more intriguing than fiction, The Heroin Wars is documentary film making at its finest, a superb and skillfully told story which ultimately reveals that as long as there are supplies, and drug addicts, there will always be a drug trade. Highly recommended for purchase."
Gerald A. Notaro, University Librarian, University of South Florida MC Journal: the Journal of Academic Media Librarianship
"Essential viewing for anyone interested in the history of the narcotics trade and the war on drugs; highly recommended for academic libraries and world history collections."