Narinjara news


Sittwe, 26(?)
January 02: Sixteen cattle traders from Kyaukpru town who were arrested by the Myanmar Navy in the bay waters off the Sittwe coastline on the 8th November 2001 are facing indictment at the Sittwe court in Rakhine State of Myanmar, according to a businessman from Sittwe.
The businessmen were carrying sixty-two cattle in two engine boats to Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State. About eight kilometres east to Sittwe the Myanmar Navy from Naval Station #18 (at Sittwe), intercepted them and demanded a large amount of bribe charging them as smugglers. As the crew of the two cattle boats did not have enough money to bribe as they were genuine cattle traders, the Navy personnel seized the two boats and the cattle they were carrying.
After capture, the boats and the contents were declared as illegal by the military. The two boats were sold on auction to the military and intelligence personnel while fifteen of the sixty-two cattle were given to newly commissioned Dhanyawaddy Naval Headquarters at Kyaukpru and the rest forty-seven were handed over to the Western Command in Ann.
At present, though there are no boat or cattle left to be produced before the court as evidence, the sixteen cattle owners face charges brought under Clause 5 j (Ngah Nyahh) of the penal code. The Myanmar Navy now regularly patrols the Rakhine State waters and are alleged to collect illegal tolls from fishing and merchant vessels, making the members of the Myanmar Navy extremely rich. The fishing trawlers in the bay that come their way have to pay money and large quantity of fish to the crew of the naval patrol boats. The Navy personnel in collusion with the smugglers are engaged in cross-border smuggling, while the pilot and engineers of the vessels sell large quantity of diesel and engine oil stolen from the vessels in the black market since there is a scarcity of fuel oils in Sittwe.
Among the articles smuggled out to Bangladesh from Rakhine State the noteworthy ones are shrimps, timber, rice, pulses, onions, electronic goods of Thai or Chinese origin, clothes, footwear, etc.
A retired Naval officer told that, for the job of a naval cadet, one has to pay kyat 200,000 as bribe to the recruiting officer, while the usual wage of a gazetted officer in the government is kyat 7,000. #