Narinjara News

Burmese Junta officials operate smuggling gangs

Sittwe, 16
th 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 8
th 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.  #