Burmese Army seizes gold boats, militia in Shan State

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese troops yesterday seized seven gold-prospecting boats on the Salween River and arrested two Chinese citizens and members of a Shan brigade that had recently transformed into a junta Border Guard Force.

Although unable to give exact numbers, sources in Konhein Township in southern Shan State where the arrests took place confirmed that some of those detained were members of the former 7thBrigade of the ethnic ceasefire group, the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N).

The Chinese worked for Loi Kong, a gold-mining company based in Thabeikgyin Township, Mandalay Division, according to sources in the Shan army.

The SSA-N originally comprised three groups, the 1st, 3rd and 7th Brigades. Two brigades led by Sao Loimao and Sai Gaifa agreed to transform their troops and bring them under junta command within its Border Guard Force (BGF) in April after heavy pressure from the Burmese military junta.

However, the 1st Brigade led by Major General Pangfa, which has a strong base in Wanhai, Kehsi Township, in the south of Shan State, refused to join the BGF. The group is believed to be the strongest of the brigades and has about 2,500 well-equipped fighters.

The reason behind the arrests was unknown, but according to Major Sai Lao Hseng of the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), which continues to fight for self-administration, “the arrests were for two reasons. Firstly, because most of the businesses run by ceasefire or militia groups in Burma were not officially registered.

“Secondly, Maung Aye might suspect it of being a joint venture between the 1st and 7th Brigades because the 1st Brigade of the SSA-N still refused to transform into militia force. This is the attempt to weaken the opposing group.”

Maung Aye, the vice-chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, the junta’s name for itself) – the second highest ranking member of the Burmese dictatorship – is the top official overseeing the ethnic ceasefire issue.

They are not the first detentions of SSA-N members or former members. On November 3, 2005, the group’s leader, Major General Hso Ten, was charged with defamation of the state, association with illegal parties and conspiracy against the state. He is serving was sentenced to 106 years in prison by the junta.

Hso Ten was one of several Shan leaders arrested after attending a meeting of opposition and ethnic groups in the state in February, 2005. They were accused of high treason. Hkun Htun Oo, chairman of the Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD), received a 93-year jail term, Sai Nyunt Lwin, 85 years and Sai Hla Aung, 75 years. The SNLD won a landslide victory across Shan State in the 1990 election.

One woman dead, one man seriously injured in Koh Chang landslide

TRAT, Oct 11 – A woman on Monday was killed while a man was severely injured after incessant rain-triggered a landslide and forest run-off destroyed four bungalows on Koh Chang Island of Trat province.

A continuous downpour triggering forest run-off and a landslide killed the woman, aged around 25, and injured the man who were staying at damaged the Rock Sand Beach Resort near Ban Haad Sai Khao village in Koh Chang district.

As of press time, both victims remain under the debris of the resort because rescuers were unable to retrieve the body of the dead woman and the injured man, but still tried to remove the debris.

Meanwhile, Koh Chang district chief Sakprasert Chareonprasit said that the incident resulted from uending heavy rain Sunday night which triggered the landslide and forest runoff to strike the resort. Mud and big trees were dragged down and hit the four bungalows.

The landslide took place between 2 and 5am Monday as both victims slept in the bungalow and also blocked the Ban Klong Son-Ban Haad Sai Khao Road.

However, the authorities have already used a backhoe to remove clay and opened the way for vehicular traffic.

In the neighbouring eastern province of Rayong, a reservoir of a local golf course in Wang Chan district burst Sunday night releasing an estimated 100,000 cubic metres of water to flood about 1,000 houses and a temple in the surrounding area.

Early Monday morning, the torrents also swept away a 44-year-old Buddhist nun who is still missing, while Teerapong Rodpai, 44-year-old resident, was killed in a road accident as he lost control of his vehicle and drove into a flooded roadside area.

The water level in Wang Chan district receded during the day Monday and returned to normal.

Responding to the inundation, Rayong governor Tawatchai Terdpaothai instructed officials and the Wang Chan local administration office to inspect flood damage and to set up a relief centre to aid affected residents and a team to monitor the flooding situation.

In addition, a special committee chaired by the Rayong permanent secretary is being set up to investigate the cause of the reservoir’s failure. (MCOT online news)

Thailand:Too many foreign workers without working permits

BANGKOK, 11 October 2010 (NNT) – The Thailand Development Research Institute has pointed out that the number of illegal foreign workers has jumped in the past decade.

Thailand Development Research Institute Director Dr. Yongyuth Chalamwong said the number of foreign workers in Thailand has increased dramatically, from 350,000 people to approximately 2 million people in the past ten years. This is due to the registration system which allows new employees to be added to the existing workforce without forcing those whose work permits have expired to leave the country as required by law. What makes the matter worse is that an increase in the number of illegal workers has paved way for employers to take advantage of them, with the help of corrupt officials, by paying them much lower than the minimum wage specified by the present labor law.

Overall, the situation is bad for the nation, as it stands to gain nothing. Only unscrupulous employers can reap enormous profits from hiring illegal workers; other employers will most likely follow suit, which in turn, will eventually cause more problems


Labor minister says complaints should be made by persons asked to pay more than 4,500 baht for a temporary passport

The labor minister Mr. Chlermchai recently made a statement saying that if a person is being asked more than 4,500 baht for a temporary passport that they should report their complaints to the phone number: 1506.

His speech was made at the celebration of the 17th anniversary of the labor ministry. At the ceremony, offerings were made to monks as well as to good servants. The speech provided support to legalize the two million migrant workers with incomplete documents.

The minister also said that the capacity of temporary passports that are made will be raised from 200-300 daily up to 1000 daily.

The Thai newspaper also reports that the minister said that he recognizes that Thai people also go and work in other foreign countries and just as people from neighboring countries come to work in Thailand.


Mon party candidates prevented from campaigning

October 11th, 2010

Nai Marn : With less than a month left until Burma’s election day, candidates of the All Mon Regions Democracy Party (AMDP) are growing increasingly frustrated, claiming that orders from the government’s Election Commission have prevented them from campaigning.

“The time is just a few days left [until the election], the candidates from our party want to start the campaign, but the election commission does not allow to [us] campaign, but now we have started the campaign by our strategy,” said an AMDP candidate.

The AMDP’s candidate list was approved by the Election Commission this September, after a preliminary campaign in Mon areas. The party’s campaign problems, and the Election Commission’s ban, surfaced after individual candidates were approved.

AMDP candidates explained that despite the Election Commission’s ban on the party’s campaign, candidates have found ways to gain supporters discreetly; the party has taken to distributing information on the AMDP’s platform, and direction on voting procedures, to the populace in Mon areas on small sheets of paper.

“We distributed them around the Mon people, it’s good for our party [saves time and money for the party], also the when the people see that letter, they understand about our party and how to vote,” a second AMRDP candidate reported.

The first AMDP candidate IMNA spoke with also reported that the Burmese government’s proxy party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), has not been prevented from openly campaigning in Mon areas, but that the USDP has been primarily conducting its campaign among family members and acquaintances. Continue reading “Mon party candidates prevented from campaigning”