Myanmar soldiers allegedly opened fire on a Thai fishing boat

The Royal Thai Navy is protesting to Myanmar after its soldiers allegedly opened fire on a Thai fishing boat that sailed into an overlapping border area off the Ranong coast Saturday.

The Third Naval Area Command, which oversees Thai territories on the Andaman Sea, sent the protest after an urgent meeting of the Thai-Myanmar General Border Committee (GBC) to discuss the incident.

The crew of 14 jumped into the sea after the fishing vessel came under fire, navy spokesman Niphan Chamachot told the Thai News Agency.

The crew was saved by a Thai navy ship stationed nearby, but the vessel has now been impounded and its captain held in custody, Capt Niphan said.

The skipper, identified as Kayu Suksawat, is safe.



Capt Niphan said the incident comes despite a warming in ties between Bangkok and Nay Pyi Taw – especially in light of the recent visit of Myanmar’s Supreme Commander Snr Gen Min Aung Hlaing early last week. He he met Prime Minister and Defence Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Thai military top brass.

“The situation is far from tense,” he said, adding such misunderstandings can sometimes occur on the overlapping border.

The incident took place near Ko Khom, an island near a disputed border. It is about two nautical miles off Ko Chang, the largest island off Ranong province.

The Thai fishing boat, a trawler named Montri Thawisin 3, came under fire from Myanmar navy officers as it sailed a short distance from Ko Kom early Saturday, according to the initial investigation.

The boat is now under Myanmar officers’ control and is docked at Kawthaung at the southern tip of Myanmar, according to a media report.

Thai authorities and the boat owner have asked Myanmar officers to return the boat but to no avail.

The boat belongs to Surin Losong, who is also the chairman of Ranong Fishermen’s Association. Mr Surin said he was contacted by Mr Kayu about 1.30am.

Mr Kayu said his boat was attacked by Myanmar warship PGM Number 426.

Mr Kayu claimed the ship encroached on Thai territory, Mr Surin said.

The skipper decided to have his crew, comprising Myanmar nationals, jump into the sea to escape the attack, he said.

Mr Surin said he later tried to ask Thai navy officers stationed on Ko Chang to help Mr Kayu. They allegedly said they could do nothing because they needed to wait for orders from their commander.

“That’s what I didn’t understand,” Mr Surin said, asking why the Thai navy did not respond to an attack allegedly carried out in Thai territory.

He said local fishermen would do what they could to help Mr Kayu, following their disappointment with the help offered by Thai authorities.

He claimed Montri Thawisin 3 was the third of his boats to be attacked and seized in Thai territory this year. Other boat owners have encountered similar incidents, he said.

A marine police officer in Ranong Saturday warned Thai fishermen against sailing near the disputed area.

The Marine Police Division and state agencies should warn the fishermen about the territorial conflict between Thailand and Myanmar, Pol Lt Col Nirat Chuaichit, the province’s marine police inspector said.

He said fishermen must act with more caution to avoid being arrested by Myanmar officers.

Manasvi Srisodapol, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the ministry has yet to receive any official information regarding the incident.

However, he has unofficially contacted a coordinator at the Thai-Myanmar Township Border Committee for Ranong and Kawthaung.

Mr Manasvi said he could not comment further until the Foreign Ministry had received official information from the state agencies involved.

Govt. argues that school teacher was fired for absence following criticism


Myanmar Ministry of Education has issued a statement saying the teacher from a high school in capital Nay Pyi Taw was dismissed on grounds of absence without leave and repeatedly failed to show up to work on schedule. 

The statement released on Friday detailed the reason why Soe Soe Khaing, a junior assistance teacher from Basic Education High School No.5 in Nay Pyi Taw, was fired.

Her dismissal followed the forced retirement that the ministry announced on August 15, blaming her for being absent for five days without leave and getting involved in political organizations (attending a press briefing in Yangon on the 25th anniversary of democracy movement together with journalists).

The ministry’s statement said Soe Soe Khaing had taken leave for four days and been late for school for 43 days since the start of school year.

But the teacher denied being late for school for 43 days and said the points included in the statement and the actual situations were different.

“They said I had been late for school for 43 days but the school discipline enforcement board never made me sign as a warning,” Soe Soe Khaing told The Daily Eleven.

She said she was late sometimes and this was because a two-mile distance between her home and school. The bus fare was about 1,000 Kyats (more than US$1) per day though her monthly was K100,000 (US$100) only, she added.

The statement said the teacher was absent without leave for nine days from June 8 to 16.

A civil servant who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “Usually, an officer warns his or her staff against being absent without leave. Sometimes, part of the salary is cut. That’s all. One of our workmate was absent for about a month without leave. The officer went to his home and met with him.”

The statement said that Soe Soe Khaing made a trip (to Yangon) without seeking permission, which went against rules and discipline.

Criticizing the ministry’s act, Myint Aung, a member of the Former Political Prisoners Group said such a punishment was questionable at a time when the country is in democratic transition.

“According to the constitution, any citizen can go and travel everywhere freely. The punishment should not have been severe. It was not the case of bribery or selling question papers for examination. They intentionally fired her,” said Myint Aung.

The state-run newspaper, The Myanmar Alin, also reported Soe Soe Khaing was dismissed because of being absent without leave, failing to contact the school head and submitting a fake medical prescription.

“There is no civil servant who has never been absent without leave. A civil servant can be fired for misconduct or corruption,” Soe Soe Khaing said.

Dr Tin Tun Aung, who gave her a prescription, defended that she was his regular patient and it was not a fake prescription at all.

Five university teachers associations have issued a statement demanding the ministry to address the issue within 15 days. Otherwise, it will be dealt with by local and international organizations, warned the statement.


Sense of insecurity prevails in western Burma, Six government workers face dismiss


News | July 19, 2013, 1:08 pm

Sitwe_ 19 July 2013


Six government workers have been fired from their jobs in western Burma following their refusals to join duties in rural worksite for the security reason.

The dismissed employees were working in the Agriculture Mechanization Department under Arakan Agriculture & Irrigation Ministry, said one of the drive-out workers.

U Aung Tun Thein, who was a senior tractor driver in the department with 28 years long service record informed that they were fired from their jobs on 23 June by an order of U Bo Bo Aung, director of Agriculture Mechanization Department based in the Arakan capital city Sittwe.

Besides U Aung Tun Thein, the other five dismissed tractor drivers are U Tun Win, U Tin U Latt, U Kyaw Myo Win, U Myo Min Tun and U Tun Aye Kyaw.

According to a source closed to the workers, all the six tractor drivers of the agricultural department were asked to harrow an area of 300 acres by their tractors in Pauktaw township. But the drivers refused to obey the order citing the reason that the plot was nearer to a Muslim refugee camp in Kyini Byint.

But initially the drivers went to the locality for ploughing the land and worked for one day. However they were later escorted by three soldiers apprehending unpleasant incidents there. Thus their mission in the first week of June came to an end because of the security reason. Continue reading “Sense of insecurity prevails in western Burma, Six government workers face dismiss”