Mon 23 Feb 2009, IMNA
Owners of 53 motorcycles seized in western Ye Township during celebrations for Burma’s Independence Day have been ordered to spend 3 months in jail or lose their bikes, say local sources.
On February 18th, the Chairman of the Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) order quarter headmen in Ye to announce that owners of the seized motorbikes should register with authorities. Admitted owners will face 3 months in jail but will then have their bikes returned. Owners who fail to register will avoid jail time, but will not recover their bikes.
“The headman said at our quarter that we [bike owners] have to face the court for what we did at the gambling site. We will get our bikes after we go to the jail,” a Ye resident whose bike was seized told IMNA.
“Nobody has registered due to being afraid of the local authorities,” he added.
The 53 bikes were seized on January 7th when authorities raided a gambling operation near the Animal Husbandry Zone one mile west of Ye Town. Gambling had been temporarily permitted for 3 days surrounding celebrations for Burma’s Independence Day, but it expired on January 6th. The raid was conducted by about 20 armed officers from the TPDC, police, fire brigade and Municipal.
According to a police officer in Ye Town, unlicensed bikes and bikes with Ma La Ma regional licenses from Moulmein were seized. Owners of unregistered bikes face 6 months in jail. The bikes are currently being stored at the Ye police station, and it is unclear what will happen to them when their owners do not materialize.
In March 2007, Burmese army officers from Naypyidaw and the Southeast Command in Moulmein seized about 40 bikes and 50 million kyat from a gambling site near Ankhae village in Thanbyuzayat Township. Unlike the seizure in January 2009, the gamblers had permission from higher ranking officers.