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Central Bank cracks down on ‘illegal’ foreign currency; NUG to investigate death of political prisoner

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Central Bank cracks down on ‘illegal’ foreign currency 

The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) issued a directive on Aug. 20 stating that anyone holding foreign currency without its permission or a license will be prosecuted under the Foreign Exchange Management Law. “If the foreign currency is not used within six months, it shall be sold to, and exchanged by, foreign exchange dealing license holders at the market price or deposited in a bank account,” stated the CBM. The directive cited a 2014 order stating that residents with at least $10,000 USD must convert it to kyat within six months. The kyat has depreciated in recent weeks, with 1 THB now being equivalent to K110 and $1 USD being worth K4,000. 

NUG to investigate death of political prisoner 

The National Unity Government (NUG) Ministry of Health announced on Aug. 19 that it will investigate the death of Zaw Htoi Aung. He was killed when a military convoy transporting him and other political prisoners from Sagaing’s Monywa Prison to Mandalay’s Obo or Myingyan prisons was struck by a landmine on Aug. 15. Thirty-five other prisoners were injured in the attack. The NUG sent its condolences to Zaw Htoi Aung’s friends and family. The Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) doctor was arrested in Monywa in September 2021 and tortured. He was sentenced to an 11-year prison term for violating the Counter-Terrorism Law. Zaw Htoi Aung was accused of having ties to the People’s Defense Force (PDF). 

Liquor stores forced to carry military-owned brands

The military regime has threatened to close liquor stores that do not sell military-owned alcohol brands. The businesses may have their licenses revoked if they do not comply with the demands. “The regime has employed threats of arrest and imprisonment as coercive measures, forcing them to stock these items in nearly every store,” a businessperson in alcohol sales told DVB. Following the 2021 military coup, activists have encouraged citizens to boycott military-associated brands, including Myanmar Beer, Andaman Gold, Dagon Beer, Mandalay Rum, Black Shield, Army Rum, Red Ruby, and Premium Gold cigarettes. 

The Spring Revo Music Band took part in a concert in New York City on Aug. 19 to raise funds for aid to Burma (Credit: Kyaw Soe Latt, Terry Win, Htoo Nyi)

Burmese diaspora holds fundraising concert in New York

A fundraising concert named ‘Summer Musical Night,’ organized by the Burmese diaspora, took place on Aug. 19 at the Queens Theater in New York City. Burmese-American musicians performed at the event attended by around 400 people. All proceeds from the concert will go to people needing immediate humanitarian assistance.

News by Region

DVB Weekly Cartoon: Welcome to Maravijaya Buddha Statue, the world’s largest and most expensive

NAYPYIDAW—Pro-regime groups have coerced the relatives of military officials, Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) members, and locals to visit the regime’s new Maravijaya Buddha statue. “We were required to visit the pagoda on Aug. 10. Soldiers, police, and staff took turns on different days,” a Naypyidaw resident told DVB. An entrance fee will reportedly start being charged to enter on Sept. 4. Monks, nuns, students, and government employees will receive free or discounted access. 

CHIN—The Chin State People’s Police Force officially unveiled its constitution on Aug. 20. “Law enforcement has been a continuous effort over the past months. With the establishment of this law and constitution, I am confident that our operations will become considerably more efficient than they were previously,” said Steven, the Chin State Police chairperson. The Chin State People’s Police Force is composed of CDM police officers operating under the National Unity Government (NUG). 

MAGWAY—An airstrike near the Myittha River in Gangaw Township on Aug. 15 injured a monk, and damaged a pagoda and a monastery. Fighting between the Burma Army and the PDF took place. “There was a conflict aimed at gaining control of the Burma Army’s police station. I believe the airstrike was executed by the regime due to their suspicion that the PDF had a presence in the area,” said a Gangaw resident. 

SHAN—Clashes erupted between the Burma Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in Lashio and Kutkai townships on Aug. 19. The Burma Army launched an offensive against the TNLA. Sixteen battles have occurred since July 23. The TNLA claimed that the Burma Army suffered 25 casualties and took others as prisoners of war. 

Vox Pop episode 18 just dropped. Listen on Spotify, YouTube, Apple & Google Podcasts. DVB English is available wherever you listen to podcasts.

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