Police in northern Shan State’s Lashio Township are looking for unknown assailants who ran amok with swords in the town earlier this week, leaving six people hospitalised.
Tin Pe Win, the superintendent of Lashio Township police, said the attackers went on a hacking spree on the evenings of 26 and 27 April, apparently targeting random victims.
“The attacks took place at night. They weren’t brawls, and the attackers left no trace. At the moment, we have taken in several local youths with a history of violence for questioning,” said Tin Pe Win.
“We hope to catch the perpetrators soon,” he added.
Armed with swords, the attackers targeted random passersby and residents in the town’s wards 7 and 12. Six people in total were injured and hospitalised in two separate attacks, said a Lashio resident. All the victims are reported to be young men.
“One of the attacks took place around 7 pm near the Shwenyaungbin area. Five attackers came on two motorbikes and hacked two other motorists. Another attack took place at the foot of the Mansu pagoda, when two more motorists were attacked in similar manner by two attackers on a bike. Another victim was sitting outside his house talking on his phone when the attackers showed up and hacked him,” said the resident.
“The attackers are believed to be from the same group. The victims claimed they don’t know who the attackers are, but said they didn’t steal anything and were likely high on drugs.”
Tin Pe Win said that in the two years that he has been posted in Lashio, the town has seen frequent violent brawls among young people. Following a crackdown five months ago, the town enjoyed a period of calm that was shattered by these latest attacks.
The Lashio police warned local residents to take care when going out at night and to inform the police of any suspicious activity.
In the past year, a number of sword attacks have been reported in different parts of Burma, including one against a Spanish tourist in Pegu Division and another that targeted a National League for Democracy candidate campaigning in Rangoon Division ahead of last year’s elections.