Hakha attempts to ban overproof alcohol
21 August 2013: Community and Christian leaders have come together to make efforts in preventing sales of overproof alcohol, locally known now as OP, in Hakha, Chin State.
The local leaders said overproof alcohol drinking not only created social problems but also took many lives including underage young people.
Pu Hrang Vung said: “We believe OP is the one that kills our people most. It has become one of the most destructive enemies of our youths.”
Last week, more than 1,500 bottles of overproof rum worth of an estimated 1,600,000 kyats were seized following an announcement ahead of planned crackdown, according to reports.
“The anti-OP alcohol committee will inform local authorities of our activities and all the bottles will be emptied and destroyed in a public event,” Pu Sui Thio, one of the community leaders, told the Hakha Post.
Since last Friday as publicly announced, a group of officials from township administration office, police forces, medical and municipal departments, and members of community, youth, women and Christian organizations have started cracking down on OP sales in the town.
It was conducted after having obtained permission to do so from relevant government departments in Hakha, according to the Hakha Post.
The Chin leaders claimed, although it cannot be confirmed, that it is illegal to sell OP, mistakenly called before as OB, for human consumption under the government laws.
Media reports confirmed that shop-owners who attended the meeting last Wednesday agreed to stop selling and to try their best to help improve the society.
The agreement reached at Wednesday’s meeting held between leaders and shop-owners said sellers would be properly informed first and asked to submit their remaining OP bottles to the committee.
However, one of the local shop-owners argued that a lot of money were spent to stock OP bottles, demanding compensation if the alcohol was to be voluntarily submitted.
Some leaders said prohibition only on sales of OP rather than on both sales and consumption of any alcoholic drinks would be as effective in the long run.
In Thantlang about 20 miles from Hakha, local communities in partnership with Christian churches bought licenses from the government to pre-empt anyone from selling alcohol in the town.
The Hakha committee also said that serious attempts would be made to prevent imports of overproof alcohol into Chin State.
Residents in Hakha said the alcohol percentage of OP being sold in Chin State is higher than 100. Experts say overproof rums are much higher than the standard 40% ABV (alcohol by volume), with many as high as 75% to 80% available.#