Burmese reporter punches rival over alleged extortion

Burmese reporter punches rival over alleged extortion

A reporter from Hmukhin Shudaunk Journal (Crime Angle Journal) was charged by Zigon police on Saturday for punching and swearing at a rival journalist from the Bago Weekly earlier in the week.

According to fellow Bago Weekly reporter Wai Zin Kyi, crime reporter Myo Thet reacted rudely, swore at, then punched Thet Khine in Zigon, southern Saigon Division, last week when he observed the rival reporter trying to extort money from a subject he had photographed.

“A local source called and informed me that a tractor carrying illegal teak was parked on the Kan Zingyi Road [in Zigon]. So we went there and took pictures of it,” said Wai Zin Kyi. “The driver explained to Myo Thet that the teak was owned by a man named Myint Shwe. We called the local police but nobody answered. Then the tractor drove away.

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“That evening, Ko Thet Khine called me and told me that Myo Thet had punched him on the road in front of the hospital, then punched him again in front of a police officer for taking a picture of his car. And, he said, Myo Thet had sworn at him.”

Speaking to DVB, Thet Khine, whose injuries are not thought to be severe, said, “We [Bago Weekly] are trying to unveil who is behind the illegal logging business. They [Myo Thet and his colleagues] warned us not to take photos in the future. He hit me right in front of a policeman and wasn’t even arrested.”

Hmukhin Shudaunk Journal’s Myo Thet admitted striking the rival journalist, but insisted it was because Thet Khine had been trying to extort money from the tractor driver.

“Ko Thet Khine took pictures of the tractor carrying the wood and then asked the driver for money,” he said. “That’s why I punched him. You can charge me with whatever you want!”

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