Malaysia continues crackdown on Burmese migrants

Apr 10, 2008 (DVB), Malaysian authorities have raided the offices of exiled Burmese organisations and arrested activists, including those with official papers, in their ongoing crackdown on Burmese migrants.

U Kyaw Kyaw, chairman of the Malaysia branch of the National League for Democracy (Liberated Area), said ethnic organisations were among those targeted.

"They are now arresting everyone regardless of whether they are holding legal documents or not. Burmese exile organisations' offices are getting raided as well," U Kyaw Kyaw said.

"A lot of ethnic organisations including Zomi, Kachin and Chin groups have had their offices raided and their property seized. A number of activists in those offices were also arrested."

U Kyaw Kyaw said authorities were holding some migrants until their employers came to collect them.

"They are also arresting passport holders and they only let them go when their work agents or employers come and collect them at police stations where they are being detained," he said.

"If no one comes to collect them, then they are not freed."

DVB reported on Tuesday that the Malaysian authorities had stepped up action against Burmese migrants, forcing many to go into hiding in jungle areas.

Migrants were being rounded up by groups of volunteers and handed over to immigration officials in return for a reward of 80 ringgit [US $25] each.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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