Police criticised for missing youths

The father of a teenager missing in Rangoon since September has criticised the police for failing to effectively investigate his whereabouts, a case that bears similarities to that of a 12-year-old also missing in the former capital.

Thein Win says his son had failed to return from university on 20 September. Aung Kyaw Phyo, 18, was a second-year mathematics student from Thuwanna township when he went missing.

In light of what Thein Win says is police incompetence, the case has been filed to both the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UNICEF.

“The police station has been constantly ringing me up asking if I had any leads or information,” he told DVB. “They said they’ve been looking for him because they are getting a lot of pressure from high up.

“They said they were unable to find him so I told them it’s getting to the point where I will have to find him myself as they can’t do anything.”

Thein Win is not alone, however. The family of 12-year-old Ko Ko Hein has turned to a local wing of National League for Democracy party in Thingangyun township to find help. The boy has not been seen since leaving his home to buy some food on the morning of 4 September.

Rangoon division’s chief minister, Myint Swe, was quoted in domestic media last week as saying that the government would punish police forces who fail to properly investigate reports of missing persons. He also said that cases could be filed directly to him.

More often than not, the dozens of Burmese youths that go missing each year end up in the army, whose aggressive expansion carries with it the maligned practice of forced recruitment of soldiers.

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