Border trade officials get 9 months in prison

Jul 29, 2008 (DVB), Four Border Trade Administration officials from the 105-mile customs checkpoint in the border town of Muse have been sentenced to nine months' imprisonment for corruption, according to merchants in Muse.

The officials, including Muse BTA deputy director U Htay Lwin, executive U Khin Hlaing, deputy executive U Kyaw Maung and communications officer U San Win Maung, were arrested by authorities on 14 January for allegedly taking bribes and letting timber into China without collecting tax.

Two other officials who also were accused of involving in the case , director U Zaw Zaw Han and U Than Zaw Naing , had left town and had not been seen since the arrests began.

The four officials heard the verdict against them on Thursday at Muse township court and were each given a one-year prison sentence, but the term was later reduced to nine months.

Muse’s 105-mile customs checkpoint has been an important route for Sino-Burmese border trading and the centre of a number of corruption cases in the past.

Most notably, the downfall of Khin Nyunt and his military intelligence department originated in corruption claims based around the 105 checkpoint.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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