KIO hands over 14 Chinese gamblers to China

In the wake of news reports on the heinous goings on in Chinese operated casinos, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Burma’s ethnic Kachin ceasefire group handed over 14 Chinese detainees into gambling as soon as they were arrested on the Sino-Burma border to Chinese border authorities, said border sources.
According to the KIO, two Chinese gamblers were arrested in Laiza, the headquarters and border trade center of KIO on the border on January 21 whereas the other 12 Chinese gamblers were detained in Maijayang (Mai Ja Yang), another KIO controlled area on the border at night on January 22 where the biggest Chinese-owned casino is located.

Salang Kaba Nhkum Tu Awng, Maijayang administrator told KNG today, of those rounded up 12 were from China’s northeastern Shanxi province. The KIO had to arrest them because of pressure mounted by the Chinese government. continue

at least three townships in Mon State are levying taxes from paddy farmers to pay for army rations,

Farmers struggling as authorities collect paddy tax in Mon State
Fri 23 Jan 2009, Mon Son, IMNA
Authorities in at least three townships in Mon State are levying taxes from paddy farmers to pay for army rations, say local sources. Farmers are being required to pay 1,000 kyat per acre, presenting difficulties as the farmers struggle with unusually low paddy prices.

Affected townships include Chaung zone, Mudon and Paung. All villages in Paung Township have already paid their tax. At least 2 villages in Chaung zone and 3 in Mudon have paid as well. According to a farmer in Doe-mar village, Mudon Township, village headman and authorities from the land service department are collecting the tax.

The collection is an annual event, though the tax this year is mercifully lower than in the past. According to reports from last year, farmers were made to pay1,500 kyat per acre or 1 basket of paddy. In 2007, instead of collecting money authorities forced farmers to sell paddy at half its market value.

Paddy prices are unusually low this year, however, creating problems for farmers struggling to turn a profit from their meager crop; 100 baskets of paddy currently sell for 100,000 kyat less than they did in January 2008.

Authorities in Mudon have been unwilling to take paddy in lieu of a cash payment, say farmers. “Even though I want to pay with paddy, the authorities will not accept the paddy,” said the farmer in Doe-Mar, who paid 1,000 kyat per acre.

Another farmer in Mudon said that the army is reluctant to collect paddy because it wants to use the money to instead purchase paddy elsewhere in Burma, where prices are even lower. The Bangladesh based Naranjara News recently reported that paddy is selling for 120,000 kyat per 100 baskets. In Mon State, 100 baskets of the lowest quality paddy currently fetch 300,000 kyat.

A source close to the village headman in Youngdoung village, Mudon Township, meanwhile, explained the preference for cash over paddy as based upon a desire to avoid the cost of transporting the rice.

Farmers in Chaung zone and Paung Townships, however, report that though they were ordered to pay with cash they have been able to pay 2 baskets of paddy per acre instead.

Thailand proposes regional workshop on Rohingya migrants

BANGKOK, Jan 23 (TNA) – Thailand on Friday proposed to host a workshop aimed at finding ways among the region’s countries to prevent a continue influx of illegal Rohingya immigrants in large numbers as has been happening in recent months, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman.

The move came after human rights groups accused the Thai navy of forcing almost 1,000 Rohingyas back into the Andaman Sea on a boat with no engine and limited food and water supplies last month. Top military commanders have denied mistreating any of the Rohingyas.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat told journalists after permanent secretary for Foreign Affairs Veerasak Footrakul met Friday with the ambassadors of Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the charge d’affaires of Myanmar on the problem of illegal Rohingya migrants fleeing Myanmar by boat in large numbers recently.
Most of the migrants do not intend to stay in Thailand, as they are Muslim and prefer to stay in Islamic countries, Mr. Tharit quoted Mr. Veerasak as saying.

About 20,000 Rohingyas are now in Thailand illegally, many had been helped by Thai human traffickers in cooperation with international syndicates, Mr. Veerasak told envoys at the meeting.

In an attempt to solve the problem on a long-term basis, as well as exchanging information among countries in the region on Rohingya boat people, Mr. Veerasak told the envoys that the Thai government is prepared to host such a workshop in Bangkok.

The envoys said they would propose the idea to their governments for consideration.

Although no representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) was invited to the meeting, it is expected that the agency will be asked in future to act as coordinator in providing help to the boat people to stay in a specified area, Mr. Tharit said. (TNA)

Ye – In spite of having permission from township authorities in Duya, a village festival was raided by the police force and cash estimated at over eight million kyat was seized.

According to an event organizer, about 15 policemen led by U Shein Linn, General Administrator of the Township, raided a festival in the village of Jawkanee in Duyar at about 9 pm on January 14. The main gamblers were not arrested, but over eight million kyats in cash were seized and 12 villagers were taken and the village headman was forced to testify as a witness.

A local source reported that the organizing committee and the village headman of Duya had already arranged for the festival by paying bribes to the Township Peace and Development Committee, the local Burma Army battalion, the Intelligence Branch and other persons of concern.

A government employee (civil servant) who spoke under condition of anonymity told Kaowao that village festivals are granted permit only when the local headman pays a bribe. But this time, Township Chairman U Thein Zaw failed to share the under-the-table money with Administrator U Shein Lin. In return, U Shein Lin ordered the police force to crack down on the festival.

Even though over eight million kyat (Burmese currency) and, the gold chain and gold ring of 5 kyat-tha (82 gram) were confiscated, the police force reported that only 110,000 Kyats had been seized.

“We were very disappointed because the village festival is very important where people of all ages gather and have fun. This robbery committed by the government shows the truth in rural Burma. We have nobody to ask for help in fighting this kind of corruption but we want outsiders to know what is happening in our area,” said Nai Kyaw from Duya.

TPDC Chairman Thein Zaw is notorious for his greed in taking bribes from the local villagers. Owners of karaoke bars also have to pay the Chairman upon demand for trips he makes to the capital and even for his vacation.

Jawkanee is in Duya (Durae community) of the Palean area. It was a strong hold area of the NMSP and visitors are attracted to the beauty of Palean.