Karen Armed Groups, Border Guard Force Invest in Hpa-an Cable Car

By Saw Yan Naing 20 January 2017

Burma’s first cable car will be built at tourist hotspot Zwekabin Mountain in Karen State capital Hpa-an next month, according to state newspaper The Mirror.

A total of 12 companies—including those with links to both Karen ethnic armed groups and Burma Army militia the Border Guard Force (BGF)—signed an agreement on Jan. 12 to build the project with the help of Japanese and Australian engineers.

Karen State BGF leader and owner of Chit Lin Myaing Toyota Company Col. Saw Chit Thu signed the deal with Zwekabin Myay Development Company at the Jan. 12 ceremony in Hpa-an.

Col. Saw Chit Thu told The Mirror that the estimated total cost of the project was US$12 million and it will take 18 months to construct.

“We will sign a contract with Japanese and Australian engineers and technicians in February,” Col. Saw Chit Thu told The Mirror. “Twenty-five percent of the profits will go to Zwekabin Myay Development Company and 75 percent will go to Karen Armed Groups Unity Committee and our company [Chit Lin Myaing Toyota Company],”

The Karen Armed Groups Unity Committee is comprised of four Karen ethnic armed organizations including the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), KNU/KNLA Peace Council and the Karen State Border Guard Force.

Zwekabin Mountain is Karen State’s premier tourist attraction and visited by both domestic Buddhist pilgrims and foreign tourists.

The cable car project will be the first of its kind in Burma and is expected to boost tourism in the region.