Narinjara News


Row between Lieutenant General Maung Aye’s niece and Military Intelligence lands onion merchants in trouble in western Burma

Sittwe, 28
th July 03:  Twenty-nine onion traders who were bringing bags of onion from Rangoon to Sittwe, the capital of the western state of Rakhine, on the Kyaw Yadana and Shweli motor vessels were arrested on the 4th of this month as a result of altercation between the military intelligence Battaliion No. 10 and the owner of the vessels, Ms Ma Swe, niece of Burmese Junta’s No. 2, Lieutenant General Maung Aye. 

Sources in the police said that after exchange of heated words on phone between the owner of the vessels and a major from the MI 10 in Sittwe, the MI personnel ordered seizure of the consignment of onion and arrest all the owners of the bags.  Incidentally the police seized the contents of the vessels and arrested twenty-nine traders who were bringing the onions from Rangoon.

The arrested persons include Mr Khin Maung from Ohdan Quarter, Mr Maung Nyunt Sein from Rupa Quarter, Mr Aung Phru Khaing from Mizan Quarter, Mr Tun Aung Gyaw from Phayre Street, Mr Than Win from Pho Tha Village, and the wife of a hotel owner named Win Maung under Sittwe Township.  Besides that the Sittwe police also arrested four employees of the Sittwe Port Authority.

Though there is a ban on the import of onion to Rakhine State from Burma proper, the said consignment of onion was legally transported by using licences duly issued by the ruling military regime officials.  The news of the illegal arrest and seizure sent alarm across the town and a group of students and townspeople rushed to the police station and tore down the signboard in a melee.

When the situation went out of control the western commander was informed, he directed the police department to quickly settle the dispute.  So the police on 8th July 03 brought the arrested persons to the court.  The court released the illegally detained persons by fining one thousand kyat each beside extracting one hundred thousand kyat from each person as ‘donation’ for reconstruction of Lawkananda Pagoda  the Burmese junta’s pet project aimed at boosting support from the majority Buddhist community in the state capital. 

The seized onion being perishable was distributed among the members of the law enforcement agencies including Lunhtein riot police, army, navy and other government employees at a price of kyat 100 per viss (one viss = 1.6 kilo), while the price for the same stood at kyat 1,000 in the open market.  Since last year there is a ban on transport of rice, cooking oil, red chilli, onions and pulses to Rakhine State from Burma proper, which majority people of Rakhine State consider as unjust and discriminatory.  #