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Thailand is now the Myanmar junta’s favored banking destination as military attacks ramp up, UN expert says

Hong Kong/Bangkok CNN —

International banks are playing a significant role in the Myanmar military junta’s ability to carry out its systematic and deadly assault on its people, a new United Nations-backed report has found.

Thai banks have now become the main source through which the Myanmar military is buying weapons and military supplies – including parts for helicopter gunships – used to support its three-year civil war that has devastated the country and killed more than 5,000 civilians, the UN special rapporteur on human rights Tom Andrews said in a new report Wednesday.

Since seizing power in a coup in February 2021, the military has been fighting a deepening war against ethnic armed groups and people’s resistance forces across Myanmar. In recent months it has faced significant losses of territory and troops.

As it contends with widespread public opposition and an economic crisis that has sparked soaring levels of poverty, the junta has increased airstrikes and attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, displacing more than 3 million people.

The military’s brutal campaign of violence has prompted Western nations to impose wide-ranging sanctions on military leaders, family and cronies, state-owned companies, banks, and jet fuel suppliers.

“The junta, or State Administration Council (SAC), is counting on two primary resources from abroad: weapons and money,” Andrews said in the report.

Satellite imagery provided by Planet Labs, PBC, taken on May 20, shows thermal scarring across Buthidaung, Myanmar.

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The report, “Banking on the Death Trade: How Banks and Governments Enable the