Suspected gang member dies under interrogation

Jun 25, 2008 (DVB), A man accused of involvement with a gang responsible for the theft of Buddha statues in Magwe division died last week after being beaten during an interrogation session by police, locals said.

The man, whose name has not been confirmed, was arrested on suspicion of being an important member of a notorious criminal gang that has been stealing statues from Magwe, Minbu and other townships in the area.

Locals said the suspect died last week after he was beaten up by police officers during interrogation at Magwe police station (1).

A police officer on duty at Minbu police station said it seemed that Magwe police had "overdone it" during the interrogation.

"They usually come to us to conduct interrogations on our criminal suspects as well," the officer said.

"The last time they visited us was on 2-3 June to interrogate three suspects we detained in connection with the same case," he said.

"The suspects were first caught by the Minbu police , two of them were caught while they were stealing a Buddha statue. Then we managed to collect more information from these two suspects on other people who were involved in the crime."

Locals said Magwe attracts a lot of gangs involved in stealing Buddha statues as the town has a lot of ancient pagodas and other religious sites.

Reporting by Khin Maung Soe Min

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