‘Chinese mercenaries’ recruited by Kokang rebels: recruiter


A Kokang ethnic soldier standing guard outside a hotel as journalists and diplomats attend press conference at the hotel in Myanmar-China border town Laukkai, Myanmar on September 9, 2009. Photo: Khin Maung Win/EPA

A Kokang ethnic soldier standing guard outside a hotel as journalists and diplomats attend press conference at the hotel in Myanmar-China border town Laukkai, Myanmar on September 9, 2009. Photo: Khin Maung Win/EPA

Rebel forces fighting Myanmar troops in the Kokang border region of Shan state are actively trying to recruit Chinese nationals as mercenaries to boost their numbers, according to a report by Radio Free Asia on March 24. 

While the Myanmar government has strongly denied the involvement of Chinese mercenaries in the conflict with the rebels, military recruiter Lu Wei said he is currently offering a sign-up package to former soldiers demobilized from China's People's Liberation Army to join rebel Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army forces, the RFA reports.

Chinese mercenaries are being offered 30,000 yuan [K4.8 million] to sign up for periods of at least a month with the MNDAA and allied military groups, Mr Lu told the news agency.

The report says it is unclear which faction of MNDAA rebels was doing the recruiting, that of ageing leader Peng Jiasheng, or that of commander Bai Suocheng, who has closer ties with the Myanmar government.

If there is recruitment going on, the numbers are unclear. Mr Lu said his recruitment drive did not seem to be working, but that other recruitment efforts were underway.

Fighting is reported to be continuing in the Kokang region of Shan State.

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