Burmese Junta officials
operate smuggling gangs
August 03: Officials of the ruling
Burmese SPDC junta have been involved in active operation of gangs of smugglers
along the Naaf River that serves as the common border
between Burma and Bangladesh.
On 8th August three cargo boats from Bangladesh came to the salt works at Tharak-ouk
village on the Naaf River under Maungdaw
Township. The MV Jumair Anek (1327) loaded a total of 750 maunds
(= 30 tonnes) of table salt, the MV Saudi Kaizer (1326) loaded another 30 tonnes,
and the MV Matin (1023) loaded 625 maunds (= 25 tonnes) at 4 in the
afternoon, sources in the salt works said.
The Nasaka Border Security Forces Area No. 7, the
nearby police camp at Tharak-ouk and their
collaborator Abu Musa are entrusted with the
collection of illegal ‘tolls’ for allowing the smugglers to run their
business. On inquiry the source could not tell our correspondent whether
any share of the illegal money collected as ‘tolls’ go to the government
exchequer as revenue.
There is a ban on salt import from Burma to Bangladesh. But as the price of salt is about two and half
times higher in Bangladesh, the smugglers from both the sides are busy continuing
the illegal trade. Recently as the smuggled Burmese salt has posed a
threat to the local salt production the law enforcement agencies in the
southeastern part of Bangladesh including Cox’s Bazaar district headquarter have stepped
up their anti-smuggling drive. But the porous coastline in the Bay of Bengal,
shared by both the countries, is hardly any hindrance to the smuggling gangs active throughout the year.
In recent months on the face of police raids, the salt smugglers have been
mixing the refined salt from Burma with mud to look as if they have been collected from
local salt fields, making the job of the police more difficult. Later the same
adulterated salt is refined in the salt refineries of Cox’s Bazaar district, a
salt trader said.
The wholesale price of a kilo of salt is about three and a half taka on the
Burmese side, while it is about seven and half taka on the Bangladesh side. #