The Chinese mafia’s downfall in a lawless casino town
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The Chinese mafia’s downfall in a lawless casino town.

Chinese police showed their officers holding a man and a woman in handcuffs in front of a border gate.

The three were just handed over from Myanmar, the latest in a series of arrests of people accused of operating scam centers in a border town.

The two were Ming Guoping and Ming Zhenzhen, the son and granddaughter of one of the powerful warlords that ruled Laukkaing for fourteen years.

In this notoriously lawless border town, a sudden escalation of Myanmar’s conflict has killed off the Chinese mafia, the “four families” of the Godfather.

Myanmar’s official military news published a photograph of an apparent autopsy being conducted on the body of 69-year-old man around the time the Chinese police released the photos of the handcuffed pair last Thursday.

After being captured, the military said the warlord – Ming Xuechang – had killed himself, an explanation that was met with skepticism.

There was an ignominious end to a tale that began in the days of war and revolution, but turned into a tale of drugs, gambling, greed, and Machiavellian rivalry.

They turned the remote, impoverished backwater of Laukkaing into a casino hub replete with gaudy high-rise towers and seedy red-light districts.

In spite of their power, the Mings did not make the coveted list of four – the other three families were Wei Chaoren, Liu Guoxi, and Liu Zhengxiang.

Originally developed to exploit Chinese gambling demand, which is illegal in China and many neighbouring countries, Laukkaing’s casinos evolved into lucrative fronts for money laundering, trafficking, and scams.

More than 100,000 foreign nationals, many of them Chinese, were estimated to have been lured to these scam centres, where they were effectively imprisoned and forced to work long hours.