Thursday, June 23, 2022

Thursday, June 23, 2022

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

PDFs control most of northwest’s transport routes: NUG. 90% of roads in Sagaing and Magway regions — where the junta continues to perpetuate widespread atrocities — are now controlled by PDF groups, Nay Hpone Latt, the NUG’s press secretary, told a press conference on June 21. The secretary also highlighted that the military had led punitive attacks against villages that host neither local defense forces nor army units. “To be clear, it is no longer easy [for troops] to enter villages. The places where arson and other destructive acts have occurred are in the ‘Gray Zone’, a region controlled neither by the PDF or the military. We are helping refugees as much as we can. We are adapting our military strategies to ease the pain of the people, and are deeply saddened for those who are suffering,” Nay Hpone Latt said. The NUG emphasized that junta forces have set fire to hundreds of homes and places of worship and killed religious leaders in Karenni and Chin states. Dr Sasa, the NUG’s Minister of International Cooperation, said that the military regime must be held responsible for every crime committed, and that the parallel government will attempt to bring justice for tens of thousands of people whose homes have been destroyed by the military since the coup. | BURMESE

Suu Kyi moved to solitary in Naypyidaw Prison. Aung San Suu Kyi was yesterday moved to Naypyitaw Prison by the military. The deposed leader had been held under house arrest at an undisclosed location prior to today’s announcement. Reliable sources claim she will be held in a solitary cell within a block inside the prison compound. Pending cases, originally scheduled for June 23, will be heard at a newly built court in the prison’s compound, according to a source close to the court. The reason behind the rescheduling is unknown and Suu Kyi’s lawyers are barred from speaking to the media. State media has yet to comment on the move. Yesterday, a hearing concerning corruption charges related to the accusations posed by the junta against the former state counselor’s Daw Khin Kyi Foundation was heard behind closed doors. As of June 2022, the military has hit the ousted leader with 19 charges. She has been found guilty by tribunals on all six currently tried, receiving 11 years in prison. | BURMESE | BURMESE

Junta already misappropriating aid. A newly formed Japanese non-profit organization said that it will try to deliver aid to the people of Burma after reports that the military regime had replaced donated rice with broken rice, Japan Today reported. The name of the group is the Myanmar International Assistance Organization (MIAO) and is being led by Japanese lawmakers. Yutaka Nagasugi, one of the organization’s directors and the CEO of Myanmar Japon, said at a press conference on June 15 that the group had received a report that a bag of rice had half its contents replaced with crushed rice used as animal feed. Moreover, the MIAO also said that it aims to help Burma return to democratic rule and lobby the Japanese government to recognize the National Unity Government (NUG). The organization plans to work with experienced local NGOs to deliver relief supplies, including medicine and food. In addition, the MIAO said it would cooperate with other organizations, including the Thai-Japanese Education Development Foundation and Japan-Myanmar Friendship Association, to deliver aid to Burma through the border.

Latest NLD head to be handed long sentence. Ye Min Oo, the former Minister for Planning and Finance of the Yangon Region Government, was sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison for five corruption charges by a Naypyidaw court on June 20, according to sources close to the court. The ousted minister also served as the vice mayor of Naypyidaw and the vice-chairman of the Naypyidaw Development Committee. The military filed five corruption charges against him on Aug. 5, 2021, on accusations that he misappropriated loans from the Naypyidaw Municipal Bank and invitations to tender. “He received three years each of the five corruption charges,” the source said. Ye Min Oo was appointed as a minister for the Yangon Region Hluttaw on Mar. 3, 2020, replacing deceased minister Myint Thaung. He was one of the NLD’s ministers that were arrested immediately after the coup and was reportedly tortured by the military. | BURMESE

Rakhine teachers returned after being abducted to Bangladesh. Two teachers abducted in Rakhine were released on the night of June 22 after a ransom of 30 lakh Bangladeshi taka was paid. “They were released in Chanchaung village, Bangladesh,” an education worker involved in the effort to release the abductees confirmed to DVB. The kidnappers freed the two on a road between two villages in Cox’s Bazar district, Bangladesh, on the bank of the Naf River. The pair are currently safe in the village, according to villagers. “They were freed on a road between Chanchaung and Nha Khaung Chaung villages last night and are currently safe in Chanchaung village,” a villager from Chanchaung told DVB. “We were released after the ransom was paid. I am now talking to the village chief in Chanchaung. I am still worried about my security as there are only a few Rakhine households in the village. I will provide more details about what happened later,” one of the teachers, Bo Win, told DVB. The two teachers will be sent back to Burma today under the care of the Bangladeshi government, according to locals. Bo Win, the headmaster of Thinbaw Hla Village Primary School and Ohnmar Kyaw, an assistant teacher, disappeared on their way to the Maungdaw Township Education Office on the afternoon of June 16. The abductors asked for a ransom of 50 lakh (US$54,000) of Bangladeshi taka, but the victims were freed after the ransom was negotiated down to 30 lakh (US$32,000). No group has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. | BURMESE 

Despite this, AA leader Twan Mrat Naing earlier accused the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) of being behind the kidnappings. ARSA denied the allegations and claimed they were “baseless and hearsay” in a statement posted on Twitter. The Islamist militant group claimed that the AA chief’s claims were part of a propaganda effort to prevent the repatriation of Rohingya to northern Rakhine by inciting communal violence in the state. Twan Mrat Naing hit back at ARSA’s claims by insinuating the group was behind the assassination of Rohingya community leader Mohib Ullah and is trying to deflect blame for the kidnappings. “The latest statement remind me of similar cases, and makes me wonder who assassinated Mr Muhibbullah?? Anyone with good common sense knows who did what. You can’t deflect accountability with just a pharisaical statement [sic],” he said.

The abductions come as the AA has expressed its intention to mend relations between Rakhine and Muslim ethnic groups. The United League of Arakan, the civilian wing of AA, issued a statement on June 21 in Rakhine language warning the public not to spread misinformation about the kidnappings and other incidents. The statement also said that the military may be attempting to foment unrest between religious groups in Rakhine State. In 2012, Buddhist ultranationalists instigated violence against Rohingya and other Muslim ethnic groups in Rakhine State, resulting in communal violence that killed hundreds. | BURMESE 

AA fears return of communal violence in Rakhine. The ULA/AA issued a statement on June 21 warning that a series of recent incidents in Rakhine State could lead to communal violence between communities. The statement was written in Rakhine and was specifically addressed to “Rakhine people.” AA also criticized the Burma Army for sending reinforcements to the western state, “oppressing” locals, arresting Rakhine people, including AA members, and interfering with AA’s executive and judicial administrations. In addition, the EAO claimed the current tensions in Rakhine State is proof that the junta is trying to disrupt “ethnic harmony” between different groups in Rakhine. The Rakhine armed group said that several incidents – including the above kidnapping of two teachers, the beating of a young Muslim man with his hands bound, the attempted rape of a woman, and the burning of rice and farm equipment – could lead to religious and ethnic conflict. The EAO warned Rakhine people to not fall for the “enemy’s trap”. The statement also instructed social media users to not spread misinformation online that could incite violence and urged people to not repeat past cases of communal violence.

SAC minister attends ASEAN meet. The Burmese junta’s Minister for Defense, Gen. Myat Tun Oo, attended the 16th ASEAN Defense Ministers Summit in Cambodia on June 22. “As we are the chair for this year, we have mentioned that ASEAN is 10 which makes it necessary to invite all ASEAN members. We also have the consensus from eight ASEAN countries,” General Nem Sowath, director-general of Cambodia’s General Department of the Defense Ministry’s Policy and Foreign Affairs said in justifying the invitation on behalf of the current ASEAN chair. 677 local and international human rights organizations previously petitioned the Cambodian government to disinvite Myat Tun Oo due to the military’s regime’s brutal suppression of dissent. Signatories to the letter said that the invitation represented a violation of ASEAN’s commitment to not invite political representatives to the bloc’s meetings; however, ASEAN has, over the past year, continued to invite SAC members to ministerial-level meets, reserving its ban purely for high-level summits. The groups also said the move would legitimize the junta and make ASEAN complicit in the military’s violence across Burma. They demanded the Southeast Asian organization recognize the NUG as the legitimate government of Burma and pressure the military regime by barring the regime’s defense minister from future ASEAN summits. State media reported on Myat Tun Oo’s trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on June 21 to attend the ASEAN meeting. Mya Tun Oo is among a list of Burmese generals sanctioned by the US, EU, UK and other nations. | BURMESE

Embassies remember Burma’s dead. Some embassies in Yangon, including the US Embassy and the EU Delegation to Burma, updated their Facebook profile photos to black frames on June 22 to mourn the deaths of up to 2,000 people killed by the junta. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoner’s death toll for civilians killed by the military since the coup passed 2,000 on June 21.  The US Embassy in Burma expressed its condolences for civilians killed since the coup in Feb. 2021 and said that the military’s atrocities against the people of Burma across the country underscore the urgent need to hold members of the regime accountable. “We will continue to work with our partners and the people of Burma to promote accountability, including by supporting the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar…” the post said. The embassy also said it would continue to push for the immediate restoration of peace and democracy in Burma. The junta has openly opposed international calls for the immediate end to the extrajudicial killings and crackdowns on anti-military protesters and continues to carry out arrests, torture dissidents, burn villages and launch airstrikes on civilian areas. | BURMESE

Red Cross demands prison access. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has demanded access to Burma’s prisons, a privilege suspended by authorities since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I ask for the gradual resumption of our humanitarian visits and underlined the importance of allowing families to be in contact with their loved ones in prison as soon as possible,” the ICRC’s regional director for Asia Pacific, Christine Cipolla, requested during a meeting with the junta in Naypyidaw last week, the international aid organization stated on June 20. The statement said that the working conditions the ICRC is operating under are “increasingly challenging and access to hundreds of thousands of people in need of urgent help remains very limited.” The regional director called for “facilitation of humanitarian responses” in war-torn areas. “I reiterated ICRC’s offer to do more for those people most in need in both old and new areas of conflict, as ICRC is one of the few organizations able to work in today’s very difficult security environment and who enjoys the trust of all sides,” the regional director stated. The ICRC has developed historically close links to Burma’s ruling administrations meaning that it is one of only a handful of INGOs still allowed to operate within the country following a crackdown and almost blanket ban on aid groups imposed after the coup.

Australia boycotts ASEAN meet hosted by junta. Australian representatives will not attend an ASEAN counter-terrorism meeting due to be chaired by the Burmese military, The Australian reports. Countries including the US, India, and Japan have been invited to the talks, and have yet to announce their non-attendance.

Public now claims 80% of junta leader’s home. The NUG announced that around 80% of equity (US$8 million) in Min Aung Hlaing’s house on Inya Road has been sold to the public. The mansion was built on 1.86 acres of state-owned land and was valued at US$30 million, but the NUG sold the home for US$10 million through the selling of 100,000 shares for $100 per share. The NUG’s Minister of the Planning, Finance and Investment signed off on the sale and announced that it is a first step of the “End of Dictatorship (EoD)” fundraising program. “EoD promised that all the money from the sale will immediately go to the revolution. The more we get the more we can support the revolution, the faster the uprising will succeed, and the blood, sweat, and tears of the people will be lessened. Only 20 percent of the shares of the Inya home are left. People should buy the remaining shares through EoD and this land will become public property,” EoD announced. | BURMESE

Kachin leader freed by Mytikyina court. The chairman of the Kachin National Congress (KNC), Dr M Kawn La, has been freed by the military after being charged under Sec. 505(a) of the Penal Code, the KNC announced. M Kawn La was arrested in Naypyidaw in Aug. 2021 and was sentenced to two years in prison under Sec. 505(a) by Zabuthiri Township Court. He was transferred to Myitkyina Prison on May 9 after Lt. Colonel Than Htike of the army’s Northern Regional Military Command later filed fresh charges against him at Myitkyina Township Court which signed off on his release yesterday. | BURMESE

A court in Naypyidaw sentenced the capital’s ex-mayor, Myo Aung, to 15 years imprisonment yesterday, three years on each of five corruption charges, according to sources close to the court. The court also sentenced Ye Min Oo, the vice-chairman of the Naypyidaw Committee, and Min Thu, the former union minister of the Union Government Office, to three years of prison. Ye Min Oo was also sentenced to an additional 15 years for five corruption charges on June 20, bringing his total prison time to 18 years. Myo Aung was sentenced to two years in prison under Sec. 505(b) of the Penal Code on Dec. 6, 2021, together with Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, bringing his aggregate sentence to 17 years. | BURMESE

Further migrant worker arrests. The Thai army arrested 42 undocumented Burmese migrants at the Thailand-Burma border near Mae Sot around 3 a.m. today. 29 men and 13 women who entered Mae Sot from Karenni State were arrested according to Thai authorities. The Thai army said the migrants paid 25,000 to 30,000 baht to brokers to travel to Thailand. One of the Burmese migrants said they planned to travel to the cities of Bangkok, Surat Thani, Samut Prakan, and Chonburi for work. Thai security forces will take further legal action against the Burmese workers. | BURMESE

News by Region

KACHIN —The military sealed off the house of NLD MP Ma Laung Aung Yan in Nogmung township, Putao district, on June 22, according to a source close to the MP’s family. Ma Laung Aung Yan, who won a seat in the Nogmung township constituency in the 2020 elections, is in hiding and is on a list of fugitives from the junta. Nogmung is one of Burma’s most remote townships and suffers from poor infrastructure. | BURMESE

KACHIN — Young IDPs from refugee camps in Myitkyina and Waingmaw are increasingly turning to heroin, those living in and working with the camps have told DVB. Drug trafficking and usage has risen since the coup, with frequent reports of drug-related arrests occurring in EAO-controlled territory. “There are 15 and 16 year olds — and even fathers — using the drugs. They go outside the camps to get high; [the drugs] are easy to buy nearby. In the past, almost no one in the camps used drugs. However, their usage has increased significantly in the past year,” a woman living in a refugee camp told DVB. “The situation in Waingmaw and Myitkyina is severe. Drug users are from refugee camps as well as outside communities. The worst thing is that youths have died from heroin overdoses. As they are first time users, and inexperienced, they inject large amounts of drugs into their bloodstream, causing their body to go into shock, killing them. Ten young men have died from overdoses in the past two months. Some of the victims are from refugee camps, but I cannot say which camps they are from,” an aid worker with ten years of experience working with addicts in the region told DVB. Another social worker expressed concern over the low number of drug use prevention organizations operating in Kachin: “There are some organizations who help provide vocational training for IDPs to create jobs, but there are few anti-drug organizations. No matter how much these groups help [to create jobs], once young people become addicted to drugs, they cannot be helped,” he expressed. Pat Jasan, a community-based anti-drug organization based in Kachin State, said that it has suspended its drug prevention work since the COVID-19 pandemic and is having difficulties moving forward given the current political crisis. According to Myitkyina youths, psychotropic drugs such as cocaine, yaba, and crystal methamphetamine are freely available and frequently used in popular bars, clubs, and KTVs in Myitkyina and Waingmaw. The UN Office on Drugs and Crimes conducted a study on Feb. 11, 2021, that estimated that 405 metric tons of opium were produced in Burma in 2020, a number which anecdotal accounts suggest has increased dramatically since the coup. | BURMESE

KARENNI —29 detainees were released to mark the celebration of the 147th Karenni National Day held on June 21, the Karenni State Consultative Council (KSCC) announced. 22 non-CDM state employees, five alleged military informants, and two people with drug charges were released but were asked to sign a pledge to not commit crimes again, Ko Bo Bo, the spokesperson for the Karenni State Police said. “We released them on humanitarian grounds,” he told DVB. Amongst the 29 released, 24 of them were held under house arrest. The KSCC previously released 24 other detainees in Karenni State a few months ago. | BURMESE

KAREN —Junta troops summoned religious leaders and other locals to Pay Lay Wai Baptist Church in the town of Thandaung on the afternoon of June 22 and threatened to fire artillery at the town if local defense forces continued to lead attacks against the military. PDFs have launched daily attacks on troops based in Thandaung, causing increasing casualties among army personnel. In response, junta forces have demanded locals to call on PDFs to refrain from attacking the military. A religious leader said that townspeople should not be held responsible for attacks by local defense forces and that people are dismayed by being caught in the crossfire. The leader expressed doubt that locals would have the conviction or ability to convince PDFs to halt operations. The military has recently lost notable stretches of territory and installations in Karen State to the KNLA and allied PDFs. | BURMESE

MAGWAY —100 military personnel have conducted an offensive against southern Pauk township since June 16, arresting around 30 civilians in Kinma village, according to local sources. “They conducted an offensive from Taung Myint village and are now stationed at Kinma. [The military and Pyusawhti militia] broke into homes and took money and other valuables, slaughtering and eating our livestock. They also set fire to the homes of refugees and other civilians,” the source in Kinma village told DVB. A few days ago, junta forces arrested two civilians living near the village, accusing them of being PDF members. Around 10,000 residents from eight villages — including Kinma and Zeetaw villages in the southern Pauk township — are so far thought to have been forced to flee due to the offensive. 20,000 people in Myaing, 9,000 in Pakokku, 7,000 in Yesagyo, and 6,000 civilians in Seik Phyu township have fled their homes due to recent fighting in the region and are in need of food, clothing, medicine, shelter, and other supplies. According to researchers Data for Myanmar, the Burma Army burned down 924 homes in Magway Region in May. | BURMESE

MAGWAY —12 PDF members were killed and three others arrested after junta troops attacked a FAW truck carrying the fighters near Mezali bridge on the Pathein-Monywa Road, Pwint Phyu township, sources from the police told independent media outlets. A shootout occurred after the military, led by Maj. Min Paing Soe, investigated the truck yesterday morning. An explosion occurred during the firefight and two of the injured PDF members are believed to be in a critical condition. The chief of police in Pwint Phyu township investigated the scene after the explosion. The truck was also said to be carrying 29 firearms, 19 of which,  including a 40 mm grenade launcher, were destroyed in the blast. Security forces collected the bodies and weapons and increased security near the bridge. 14 PDF members managed to escape and recovered six firearms, according to the People’s Media news outlet.

MANDALAY —Three PDF members were killed shortly after they were arrested during a significant raid led by security forces in Ngek Pyaw Taw village, Thazi township, on the morning of June 20. The military is said to have burned two houses during the raid, including the home of NLD member Htein Lin. Soldiers looted valuables from homes and destroyed motorcycles and rice supplies. “The raid happened because of information provided by a military informant. I learned that [the PDF members] were captured while they were in the village. Other PDF groups were trapped but managed to be rescued and are now in liberated areas controlled by EAOs,” a member of a local defense force told DVB. The bodies of the three PDF members were buried by military personnel and Pyusawhti militiamen at Perein Taung village cemetery. | BURMESE

MON —Four people, including a former NLD Hluttaw candidate, Kyaw Myo Min, were arrested and one man was shot dead by troops in Bilin township’s Le Ka Tae Village on June 22, according to the Thaton District PDF. The four were arrested while returning from a business trip and have been detained at Daw Zawgyi Monastery, the PDF claimed. Kyaw Myo Min, who was elected to the Mon State Hluttaw in Bilin township in the 2020 general elections, had been in hiding after being charged under Sec. 505(b) of the Criminal Procedure Code soon after the coup. KNU Brigade 1, which operates within Thaton, urged associates of those arrested to leave the area for their own safety. | BURMESE

MON —The military sealed off the house and motorcycle showroom of two political activists in Kyaikhto yesterday, according to local sources. Han Myint’s home in Kawsannaing ward, Kyaikhto, was seized at around 2 p.m. yesterday. He is believed to have been on the run with his family after the junta charged him under Sec. 505(a) of the Penal Code due to his leadership of anti-military protests. Security forces also sealed off a motorcycle shop owned by Thant Zin Phyo in Kawhtin village yesterday evening. Thant Zin Phyo was arrested in March on accusations that he was involved with an explosion. At least 10 houses of NLD MPs, supporters, and activists have been sealed off in Mon State since the coup. | BURMESE

RAKHINE —Tit-for-tat arrests continue in Rakhine, with the Burma Army detaining nearly 30 civilians, including three students, in Mrauk-U. The mass arrests came soon after the Arakan Army (AA) captured three Burma Army personnel near the historic town on June 21. Troops are said to have carried out strict inspections across the town while making the arrests. Residents said that some of Mrauk-U’s schools and markets have since closed, and that the military has heightened its presence since the arrests of its personnel. “Arrests are taking place in many parts of the town. Both men and women were arrested and their whereabouts are unknown,” a local told DVB. Tensions between the Burmese military and AA have risen exponentially over the past month, after the AA said it would crack down on the military’s “bullying” of Rakhine’s citizens. Both armies have also increased their rhetoric against the militant islamic Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, raising genuine fears that a multi-fronted, multi-ethnic war could again erupt in the state which has nominally been at peace since late 2020. On June 20, the AA detained three policemen from Kyauktaw Township Police Station, with dozens of residents arrested by the Burma Army shortly after. Preceding the incident, around ten other civilians were arrested by the military in Ponnagyun following the AA’s detention of a soldier in the town. The AA has detained up to 10 army personnel in Rakhine State in June alone, with the military arresting nearly 80 Rakhine natives in response, with only a handful so far released. AA spokesperson Khine Thu Kha said at a press conference on June 14 that arrests had been made in response to Burma Army raids on the homes of ULA members. | BURMESE

SAGAING —Chinland Defense Force Kalay-Kabaw-Gangaw (CDF-KKG) said that CDF-KKG-led forces ambushed military troops near Haeloak village, Kale township on Thursday morning. Both sides fired heavy artillery during intense clashes in which at least ten Burma Army soldiers were killed with many more were injured, according to the CDF-KKG. One Kalay PDF fighter reportedly died, while four other members of the CDF and allied PDFs were injured. Residents of Haeloak and Kway Kyain villages were forced to flee to safety due to the clashes. Many soldiers were said to have been killed due to landmine attacks by Kalay PDF near Htoma village on June 21. Kalay PDF issued a letter warning the public not to use Kalay-Gangaw Road due to intensifying clashes between local defense forces and the military. | BURMESE

SAGAING —Tamu PDF warned locals to not travel between villages and roads located between the towns of Tamu and Kale starting from June 22. The PDF also ordered vehicles commuting between villages to trade to refrain from travel as military tensions in the area could cause fighting to break out at any time. “Please follow our warnings. We are launching an offensive in Tamu, and we advise people to evacuate to safe places,” the spokesperson of Battalion 2 of the Tamu PDF told DVB. The local defense force also said it would investigate travelers passing by the area and urged them to submit to the inspections peacefully. | BURMESE

SAGAING —An official from North Yinmarbin PDF has claimed that approximately 200 clashes have taken place between the Burma Army and local defense forces in Pale, Salingyi, Yinmarbin, and Kani townships this month. Fighting has led to a huge rise in the number of displaced people fleeing the area, a group which is said to have received little to no local or international aid. “There have been about 200 clashes in Yinmarbin district in June alone. Junta forces used drones and 60 mm artillery shells during the fighting. Their tanks seem to be for show and have not yet been used. This has been the military’s strategy so far,” said Ko Khant, an official from North Yinmarbin PDF. | BURMESE

SAGAING —14 members of the junta’s security forces — including a deputy chief of police and Pyusawhti militiamen — were killed after a coalition of local dense forces attacked a FAW truck in Khin-U township, a local PDF announced. The truck carrying the military regime’s forces left from Khin U and was attacked near Mu Chaung bridge, west of Khanthit village yesterday morning. All soldiers in the truck were killed and two PDF members were injured, according to Narapati Local Guerrilla Revolution Force (NLGRF). | BURMESE

N. SHAN —Katha Township People’s Defense Force (PDF) announced on Wednesday that it had attacked the barracks of the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Division 121 with a drone. The barracks, located in Nga O village in Mabein township on the border of Sagaing Region, are believed to have been sheltering injured military personnel. 15 soldiers were killed in the drone attack, according to the PDF, yet DVB was unable to independently confirm the casualty numbers. “We launched a surprise attack against them. We knew there were a lot of injured military personnel in the barracks,” the spokesperson of Katha PDF said. The barracks are under the command of the army’s Northern Region Military Command. On June 19, Katha PDF attacked the entrance of a military checkpoint in Katha with an IED dropped from a drone, injuring some soldiers. | BURMESE 

N. SHAN —Youths across Burma have reported being scammed while searching for jobs in the country’s border towns. Fake brokers are recruiting young people on Facebook with deceptive salary offers ranging from K12 lakh (US$650) to K18 lakh (US$970) a month for online digital marketing jobs in Myawaddy near Thailand and Laukkai, Kokang Self-Administrative Zone, near China, according to victims of the scams. A young man from Yangon who recently escaped from a scam company in Laukkai told DVB that he had been tasked to persuade foreign customers to trust and invest in a fraudulent online business. The victim said he had been ordered to scam seven customers a day, and, if failing to do so, was lock in a dark room and beaten by militias for hours at a time. “We were each given a laptop and asked to communicate to foreigners via Gmail. We persuaded foreigners to invest money in the company’s stocks. If they did, we had to send a small amount of money to their bank account for a month or two. If they then deposit a large amount of money, we had to block their accounts and cut off all contact. After that, we had to find other customers,” he said. Locals said it is common practice for Chinese nationals to hire local militias to enforce illegal business activities in Laukkai. Victims are guarded by the militias to prevent them from fleeing, and must pay bounties of roughly K20 lakh (US$1,080) to gain their release. “Never go [to Laukkai] unless you have a close relative in Laukkai… It is not true that they are paying 5,000 or 6,000 Chinese yuan per day… It was like being in prison,” another victim of the scam said. Victims said that the criminal activity was being driven by Chinese nationals unable to speak Burmese. Burmese authorities have so far failed to investigate or take legal legal action against those responsible. Unemployment levels have risen sharply since the military coup, making young job seekers increasingly open to exploitation by criminal gangs. | BURMESE

TANINTHARYI —Khin Cho (aka Mae Cho), 49, was arrested and tortured to death by the military in Wa Byaw village of Launglon township. Three vehicles carrying junta troops and Pyusawhti militiamen shot at three houses in Wa Byaw village on the night of June 21 and arrested Khin Cho. Shortly after the arrest, the body of Khin Cho – which was found with bruises and gunshot and knife wounds – was dumped in front of her house in the early hours of June 22. “Her hands were covered with knife wounds. One finger was cut off… she had bruises on her face,” a young villager said. Khin Cho is said to be a civilian and the motive behind the killing is unknown. The Dawei District Democracy Movement Strike Committee said the military killed four locals, wounded two others, and burned down a house since June 16 in Launglon township. | BURMESE

YANGON —Two security guards were arrested with K1 billion (US$538,000) worth of ecstasy tablets in Hmawbi township, the junta’s Central Committee For Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) announced on June 21. 4.2 million tablets were hidden in dried coconuts, boxes of thanakha and the security guards were arrested after authorities searched a house owned by a man named Aung Min in Myaungdakha village, Hmawbi township around 10.30 p.m. on June 1. According to the investigation, Aung Min was the owner of the drugs, and has been detained at Maungdaw Myoma Police Station since May 16. He became a fugitive after he became a suspect in a drug bust of 147,750 tablets of ecstasy in Myoma Kyindan village in Aug. 2018. | BURMESE

YANGON —The military has, since the coup, killed one female student and arrested 14 other young people attending Yangon East University, the Yangon East University Students’ Union announced. The announcement was issued yesterday and was based on data collected from Feb. 1, 2021, until May 1. The union also requested the family members or friends to register the name of students who were arrested or killed if they have not done so. Honey Oo, a final year physics student, was shot and killed together with her mother and uncle when they were at their store by the Yangon Thway Thouk (Blood Drinkers) militia on the afternoon of May 19. According to the student union’s data, two students received two and six years of imprisonment while three other students detained in prison are awaiting trial. The union lost contact with three other students since they were arrested by junta troops. | BURMESE

YANGON —Two unidentified young men were arrested after a military-appointed administrator was shot and injured in Hlaingtharyar township yesterday afternoon, according to local sources. Maung Maung Than, an administrator of No.9 ward in Hlaingtharyar township, was shot by an unidentified gunman when he was on his way returning from the administration office and the two young men were arrested and beaten when military troops arrived where the shooting took place. “[The administrator] was not killed. Military trucks then arrived and assaulted and arrested the two young men who were passing by the area on a motorcycle. I do not know who the men are,” a local source told DVB. The administrator was taken away by security forces and his condition is unknown. No group has claimed responsibility for the shooting. On June 9, administrator Win Zaw from Hlaingtharyar’s No.20 ward was shot and killed. | BURMESE