Teenager accused of stealing sent to army

Aug 27, 2009 (DVB), A 15-year-old boy accused of stealing from a house where he worked as a servant in southern Burma was handed over to the military by his employer, said an opposition party member.

Aung Kyaw Zin, who lived in Irrawaddy division, was hired by a neurologist in Mon state capital Moulmein for six months last year to work as a servant.

After failing to return home once the six months was up, his mother, Htay Yee, contacted the neurologist, who said he been handed to the army.

"The mother and I went to Moulmein and met with Khin Ko Ko [who] told her she handed him to the army for stealing some gold from her house," said National League for Democracy (NLD) member Maung Maung Gyi.

"I told her she should've handed him to the police and that she didn't have permission to send him to the army."

The teenager was reportedly handed to a sergeant in the Light Infantry Battalion 545, when he visited the neurologists house.

Khin Ko Ko's older sister has claimed that the neurologist only "gave the boy a chance" to join the army to help him escape legal punishment for stealing.

"He said he wanted to join the army instead and my sister, who didn't want to see him sent to a prison, let him," said Khin Ko Ko's sister.

"Joining the army is a good thing, so we let him even though he is not 18-years-old yet."

Maung Maung Gyi said the case was reported to the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) liaison office in Rangoon but no progress has been heard since. The ILO in Rangoon was unavailable for comment.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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