Market vendors in Bago assaulted and sued by butchers

Mar 20, 2009 (DVB), Two female stall holders at a market in Bago were assaulted by local butchers earlier this month, and one then sued by police for insulting and obstructing officials on duty, said a stall holder.

Local butchers Kyint Sein and Thant Zin attacked a meat curry vendor named San San Hla after she refused to source meat from them. They also attacked another stall holder.

Market official Than Win and Captain Myo Myint Aung of the army's Brigade-77 watched while the assault took place, said San San Hla.

"They pulled my hair and beat me up," she said. "I fell down and lost consciousness.

"Other people came to watch and the men hastily drove away. They dragged another girl, who was selling pork barbeque at the top of the road, by her neck and took her to the municipal office."

"They told me they did that because the captain was here."

San San Hla and the girl reported the incident to No.3 police station but officers refused to accept their case.

Market official Than Win and butcher Thant Zin then sued San San Hla for obstructing officials on duty, and butcher Kyint Sein and Thant Zin sued her for insulting them.

A police officer at No.3 station said that witnesses are being interviewed and the police will press charges only after legal experts are consulted.

San San Hla also claimed that Myo Myint Aung encouraged the attackers while they were assaulting her.

An officer on duty at Brigade-77, Lieutenant Colonel Tin Htun Oo, denied the accusation and said that the people concerned are being interviewed.

"It is the army’s duty to make things better, not to make things worse," he said.

Local residents claim that Myo Myint Aung has been extorting money from guesthouses, slaughter houses and gambling centres for some time.

They added that he is often seen drinking with Kyaw Win, a member of the pro-government Union Solidarity and Development Association party.

On the same day, chicken vendor Nyan Win claims he was also attacked by local butchers and municipal officials.

He said that the butchers mistook his chicken meat for pork meat, for which they are trying to get a monopoly over distribution.

"Four people punched me first," he said. "As I fell down I asked them why they punched me, and they said they are from the arresting squad.

"My lips needed three stitches from the punches and from being shot with catapults."

Nyan Win said he is also being sued for obstruction and profanity.

Reporting by Ahunt Phone Myat

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