Narinjara News


Pirates act as lifesavers for fortunate Burmese


Cox’s Bazar, October 9: The pirates active on the Bay of Bengal threw 11 onboard Burmese into the sea of Bangladesh’s water territory, providing them with only big bamboo rods as lifesavers after taking away their boat loaded with ox and teak wood on October 4, said a victim of the incident.


“A big trawler approached us while our boat was drifting with the current of the sea after failure of its engine.  One of the crewmen of the trawler, after finding out our trouble, asked for 130 thousands Taka to pull our boat ashore. We promised to give him the money, with gratitude, and then the trawler drove closer to ours. After tying the two boats side by side, the pirates who we thought to be simple crewmen took out their guns and threatened us at gunpoint and ordered us to jump out of the boat, giving us the chance to take big bamboo rods carried in our boat as lifesavers”, explained the victim.


The victims who seem to have fallen prey to the pirates en route to Bangladesh while smuggling dozens of ox and tons of teak, were all Arakanese, from West Burma.


Fortunately, after spending the night clutching the bamboo rods, the men were saved when they were spotted by a local fishing boat from Cox’s Bazar Town, situated on the Bay of Bengal, that was on it’s way home.


The victims of the incident are known as; U Kyaw Phay (45), Oo Kyauk Khay (52), Shwe Maung (42), Shwe Tin (38), Oo Htun Shin (50), Nauru Slam (38), San Thein Kyaw (53), Soe Win (38), Thein Phay Maung (40), Maung Yin (42) and Nga Tin Htoo (38). Most of them are from southern part of Arakan State in West Burma, and U Kyaw Phay is identified as the boat's owner and Soe Win as the captain.


They are now taking shelter in a Buddhist Temple of Cox’s Bazar, and with the assistance of some local Arakanese-Bangladeshi people, two of them were dismissed to their homeland on October 7.


“The local businessmen with a small investment company cannot enjoy much profit in domestic markets as all businesses in Arakan State are monopolized and the movement of all goods within the state are charged with high tolls and taxes by the military authority. Many of them turn to smuggling goods into neighboring Bangladesh, where they can earn triple the price of a domestic sale, however they still have to pay to bribe the top brass of the army or military intelligence, for their illegal trade” said a businessman from Sittwe, the Capital of Arakan.


Smuggling goods by sea may be very profitable, it is also very dangerous. It sometimes costs a life, in the event of bad weather and the occasional interaction with pirates and they face a long-term jail sentence in jail if authorities capture them. There are currently hundreds of Burmese spending their life behind bars in Bangladesh jails in connection with smuggling cases, according to local sources.#


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