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Nearly 2,000 foreigners escape cyber scams in Myawaddy; UN Special Envoy on Burma pays visit to Bangkok

Nearly 2,000 foreigners escape cyber scams in Myawaddy

Thailand’s Channel 3 TV news reported on Tuesday that a total of 1,843 foreigners, who illegally crossed the Thai-Burma border, were arrested in Mae Sot, Thailand from Oct. 1, 2023 to July 8. It claimed that the foreigners were working at cyber scam compounds in Myawaddy Township of Karen State. 

“It is neither the problem of Myawaddy nor that of Thailand, but it is a problem for the international community,” said Rangsiman Rome, a member of Thailand’s House of Representatives. He called on the Thai government to cooperate with other countries to shut down cyber scam compounds in Burma.

Rome added that 12 foreigners, including 11 Moroccans and one German, requested assistance from the Thai authorities and were rescued from a cyber scam compound with the help of the military regime in Naypyidaw and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), an armed group based in Karen State, on Friday. 

Yoma group chairperson ‘cooperating with authorities’

Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper reported on Wednesday that there were no charges filed by the regime in Naypyidaw against Serge Pun, also known as Thein Wai, the executive chairperson of Yoma Strategic Holdings. 

Myanmar Now reported on Tuesday that Pun had been detained for more than a month over alleged violations of banking regulations. “Mr. Pun had been meeting with authorities, including the Central Bank,” stated Yoma Strategic Holdings. 

The regime announced that it will take action against officials from seven banks, including Yoma and AYA, for providing large housing loans against orders from the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM). Eleven businessmen were arrested on June 30 and accused of selling rice at a higher price than the rate set by the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). 

UN Special Envoy on Burma Julie Bishop and Thailand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Maris Sangiampongsa in Bangkok on July 5. (Credit: Thai MFA)

UN Special Envoy on Burma pays visit to Bangkok

The newly-appointed U.N. Special Envoy on Burma Julie Bishop met with Thailand’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs Maris Sangiampongsa in Bangkok on Friday. Maris congratulated Bishop on her appointment by Secretary-General António Guterres.

The two diplomats reportedly discussed humanitarian assistance to the people of Burma, as well as how to achieve a political solution to the crisis since the 2021 military coup. They will coordinate actions between the U.N. and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to implement its Five Point Consensus.

Bishop replaced Noeleen Heyzer, a former U.N. Under Secretary-General from Singapore, who left her post as Special Envoy after 20 months in June 2023. The job was left vacant for 10 months until Bishop’s appointment. The U.N. stated that Bishop brings “extensive political, legal management and senior leadership experience to the role.”

News by Region

KACHIN—The military are blocking fuel tank trucks from entering the Namsiaung inspection gate in Mohnyin Township, which is located between Kachin State and Sagaing Region. 

“We have to go to those trucks with motorcycles and carry fuel with plastic containers to the fuel stations,” said a trader. A motorcycle driver charges 40,000 kyat ($12 USD) to carry up to 10 five-gallon containers. A 52-gallon container of 92 Ron fuel costs one million kyat ($307 USD) at fuel stations in Mohnyin.

MANDALAY—A ten-year-old boy was killed and his parents were injured during an airstrike on Oakpho and Thankon villages of Madaya Township on Tuesday. “A jet fighter from Tada-U dropped three bombs near a telecoms tower, destroying two homes. Another jet fighter carried out an airstrike,” said a Madaya resident. 

Residents from two villages fled their homes and are now Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). A Madaya People’s Defense Force (PDF) spokesperson claimed that there was no fighting against the military ongoing in the area. The number of casualties is still unknown. 

SHAN—At least two people were killed and 10 others were injured by artillery in Lashio Township on July 10. “Two shells landed in Ward 9,” a Lashio resident told DVB. Heavy artillery has also been reported in the city since July 9. At least 30 civilians have been reportedly killed due to the fighting in Lashio and neighboring townships since July 3. 

YANGON—A political activist named Soe Yarzar Tun was released from Insein Prison on July 9 after completing his three-year sentence. He was arrested and convicted under the Counter-Terrorism Law in 2022. Yarzar is the leader of the Nurture AIDS Center (NAC) in East Dagon Township. 

“He is in good health,” a family member told DVB. The NAC assists people living with HIV/AIDS. It was founded by Phyu Phyu Thin, a National League for Democracy (NLD) party member, who went into hiding after the 2021 coup.  

The regime’s Ministry of Health reported on July 9 that 64 individuals are currently receiving medical treatment for cholera in hospitals across Yangon. “All [of the] patients are in good health,” stated the ministry. It added that a total of 130 patients have been discharged from the hospital after recovering from illness related to the cholera outbreak. 

The Myanmar Fire Services Department rescued eight of 17 passengers from a boat that capsized in the Yangon River on July 10. Nine are still missing. (Credit: MFSD)

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