Oct 10, 2007 (DVB), Security forces have stepped up arrests of people in Mandalay for curfew violations, amid an increase in the local crime rate blamed by residents on the recent crackdowns on anti-government demonstrations.
Government officials have arrested a number of people for breaking the 9pm to 5am curfew that has been in place since 25 September. People on their way home from work have been stopped by officials who have extorted bribes from them.
"Some people who come home late from work are being arrested by government officials who demand a bribe of 30,000 Kyat to release them. People who can't pay are being sent to jail," said a Mandalay resident.
"Some people go home after paying the bribe only to be arrested again when they get back and put in prison," he added.
Another resident complained of the rising crime rate, blaming the breakdown of the economy and local business following the violent suppression of recent protests.
"Crime rates are high at the moment, more looting and robberies in Mandalay and the government should do something about it or it will just get worse," the resident said.
"People can't find money anywhere and can't go out to work so they are committing more crimes," he claimed.
Reporting by Maung Too