Chauk man dies in police detention

Feb 18, 2008 (DVB), A man held by police in Chauk township, Magwe division, on suspicion of stealing gold ware from a local resident was found dead on the fourth day of his detention, locals said.

Ko San Thaung was arrested by local police on 27 January after being accused by school teacher Daw Khin Swe Moe from Gu Phyu village of stealing gold accessories during an ordination ceremony in his village, a Chauk resident said.

"First he was questioned by the village Peace and Development Council officials but he was released later," said the Chauk resident, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Then the teacher decided to press charges and filed a report at the Chauk police station," he said.

"The Chauk police then ordered the local Salay police station to arrest San Thaung, and he was arrested by police chief Thet Naing Tun on 27 January."

On 30 January, the fourth day of his detention at Salay police station, San Thaung died of unknown causes, the resident said.

"At around 8pm on 30 January, San Thaung apparently became unconscious and was sent to Salay township hospital," he said.

"But he was already dead when he arrived at the hospital."

Suspicions were raised among Chauk residents that the police’s brutal treatment of San Thaung during interrogation sessions could have caused his death.

The resident said a significant number of welts were seen on San Thaung’s neck by townspeople when his body was displayed at his funeral.

San Thaung was 30 and a resident of Pwint Linn village in Chauk.

Townspeople described him as a good villager who was always ready to help whenever there was a social gathering in the neighbourhood.

His family has now filed a complaint with Chauk township police and government leaders in Naypyidaw asking them to investigate his death.

Chauk police station was unavailable for comment on the case.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew

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