5. Deprivation of Livelihood
"the Government of Myanmar is largely responsible for food scarcity [it] may be considered guilty of a crime against humanity, punishable under international law."
(Source: “Food Scarcity in Myanmar,” Asian Legal Resource Center, Sixtieth session of the Commission on Human Rights, United Nations Economic and Social Council, 29 January 2004)
The government has deprived the people of Burma, particularly the non-Burman ethnic nationalities, of their rights to land for decades. Unless farmers have the rights to work freely and safely on the lands, their livelihoods will remain vulnerable and food security will mean depending on international aid.
(Source: Reclaiming the Right to Rice, Burmese Border Consortium, October 2003)
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
-Article 25, paragraph (1), Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Throughout 2003, the majority of the population of Burma continued to struggle to maintain their standard of living. Since the military coup of 1962, the economy has steadily deteriorated, making it increasingly difficult for people in Burma to meet their basic needs. Despite a wealth of natural resources, the country suffers from widespread poverty. The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has effectively destroyed a once robust economy through decades of misguided economic policies, rampant corruption, cronyism, and disproportionate spending on the military. In July, the Cato Institute and over 50 other libertarian think tanks released their annual 'Economic Freedom of the World' report, ranking 123 nations according to size of government, legal framework and property rights, access to stable currency, freedom to conduct international trade, and government control of business, credit and labor markets. The report placed Burma at the bottom of the list (source: “Hong Kong, Singapore, U.S. Top "Economic Freedom" Index, ”Inter Press Service, 8 July 03).
In addition to a poorly functioning economy, a significant percentage of the population have seen their livelihoods threatened or destroyed as a result of systematic human rights violations perpetuated by the regime against civilians. These violations, which include: forced labor, arbitrary taxation and extortion, forced relocation, land confiscation, and looting of money and property, are particularly endemic in ethnic nationality areas. (For more information on forced labor and displacement see relevant chapters.)
SPDC Control of the Agricultural Sector and Lack of Food Security
Independent data has confirmed that agriculture accounts for 60% of Burma’s GDP, employing 66% of the workforce and providing the country with 51% of its export earnings. At present, there is little potential for future growth in this sector under the current system of weak land rights, strict procurement policies and restrictions on exports. In many areas farmers are forced to sell a significant portion of their crops to the government at prices two or three times below market value. This effectively impoverishes farmers and dries up any tax revenue for the state. While the regime has intervened to prevent increases in the price of rice, some reports from Arakan State indicate that despite this, rising rice prices may have led to several cases of starvation.
During the UN Commission on Human Rights discussions of economic, social and cultural rights, Ali Saleem of the Asian Legal Resource Centre made the following statement regarding food security in Burma: “The military Government of Myanmar was not genuine in its stated aspiration of ensuring the food security of people in Myanmar. The right to food in Myanmar was denied by more than mere neglect - it was a matter of principle. In every sense, the State in Myanmar rested on the preeminence of the armed forces. Policies there were designed at the highest level to fulfil military needs first, without regard to civilian well-being. It was in the remote parts of Myanmar that the worst abuses of the right to food continued. The Government of Myanmar had failed to fulfill its obligations under international law and it alone must be held responsible for the pervasive food insecurity that continued to grip the country.” (Source: “UN Commission on Human Rights completes discussion of economic, social and cultural rights; Begins review of civil and political rights," UN Information Service, 7 April 2003)
In 2003, the economic situation in Burma grew more tenuous due to the collapse of the private banking sector. The banking crisis began in February when the failure of key financial institutions caused a run on private banks. The banks responded by immediately restricting withdrawals, account transfers and credit card services. As the SPDC prohibits people from using foreign banks, these restrictions had a huge impact on those who maintained savings accounts and/or had existing loans from private banks (sources: “Myanmar's bank crisis still continues,” Xinhua, 24 February 2003 & “Burma's Banking Meltdown Goes Unnoticed Beyond Its Borders,” The Age, 20 March 2003). In May it was reported that investors had begun selling their frozen account balances at heavy losses in a desperate attempt to recover some of their savings. Instead of taking measures to address the crisis, regime officials continued to deny the severity of the situation, and instead reportedly supported intimidation tactics to force people to repay their loans (source: “Bank Crisis Rolls On,” Irrawaddy, 6 May 2003). Meanwhile, the ongoing crisis forced a number of small businesses to shut down and led to a rise in crime and unemployment. (Source: Arrested, ALTSEAN, 1 April –30 June 2003)
Sann Aung of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), commenting on the crisis, stated, “This is the worst financial situation since 1988” (sources: NCGUB & Charm Offensive, ALTSEAN, January-March 2003). By the middle of June, it was reported that three major banks were awaiting government permission to file for bankruptcy. In July, Narinjara News reported that several banks in Arakan State were on the verge of closing and many businesses and investors had ceased to use the banking system entirely due to the tight withdrawal restrictions (source: “Banks in Distress," Narinjara, 31 July 2003).
At the beginning of 2003, there was a significant increase in the cost of commodities and services including rice, oil, gasoline, housing, and transportation. This increase was attributed to economic polices that led to over-exporting, uneven distribution, and the regime’s decision to dramatically raise transport fares. In Rangoon, increased crime was reported in conjunction with the rising inflation and many people were only able to afford to eat once each day (Source: Moe, Kyaw Zwa, “Up Up and Away," Irrawaddy, 29 January 2003). At the end of December, merchants in Rangoon and Mandalay reported that inflation was again on the rise, causing a simultaneous increase in the price of rice and other goods (source: “Inflation on the Rise Again in Burma," DVB, 30 December 2003). In addition to poor economic management, prices of essential commodities also rose in areas where the SPDC continued to grant private companies monopolies over the transport of goods. This situation was particularly acute in Arakan State. (See section on Arakan State in this chapter.)
US Economic Sanctions
On July 28, United States President George W. Bush signed an Executive Order and the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act 2003, enacting the strongest international sanctions to date to be placed on the regime. The sanctions barred all Burmese imports from US markets, froze all assets of high-level SPDC and Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) officials in the US, and banned the provision of financial services to Burma. The financial services ban, which prohibits the transfer of US dollars through Burmese banks, had a dramatic effect on the formal sector, which is largely dominated by SPDC officials and their cronies.
The impact of US sanctions on ordinary citizens has been more difficult to calculate. The regime and other critics of sanctions have claimed that between 140,000 and 350,000 factory jobs have been lost as a result of sanctions (source: “US Sanctions Ravage Myanmar Garment Industry, but economic Chaos Subsiding," AFP, 21 September 2003). Organizations such as Altsean-Burma however, maintain that a comparison with the Cambodian garment industry points to a figure that is closer to 76,000. It is also true that investor confidence was already waning and factories had begun to close months prior to sanctions. This was due to high levels of corruption, the banking crisis, and perceived political uncertainty after the Depayin attack (source: Under Pressure, ALTSEAN, 1 July -30 September 2003).
5.2 Situation of Farmers in Burma
An estimated 66% of Burma’s workforce is employed in the agricultural sector and rice, being the nation’s staple food, is therefore extensively cultivated. The SPDC, which has retained central planning and control of food production in the nation, has made various attempts to boost the production of rice and other agricultural products, yet the methods which they have used have had disastrous results for the people who do the farming in Burma.
Right to Own Land
Cultivators in Burma have effectively lost the right to own land, as under sections 9-12 of the Lands Nationalisation and Agricultural Lands Act 1953, the right to transfer, partition or lease land can only occur with permission of the authorities. In the 1963 Tenancy Act, the State usurped the right of landowners to lease their land and the 1963 Protection of the Right to Cultivation Act stipulated that land would be protected from confiscation, except in the case of a) non-payment of dues owing to the State, and b) disputes arising from inheritance cases or actions taken by the State for security reasons. The State was further granted authority to confiscate land through Notification No. 4/78, which was enacted on September 18, 1978. This notification states that failure to sow the allotted land with the earmarked crops to obtain optimum results, or failure to sell the full crop quota to the government at the stipulated price, would result in confiscation of land. Currently village and Township administrators have the power to confiscate land and the cultivators are compelled to follow their dictates with no means of protest. Local farmers are afforded a degree of land use rights but most literature or information explaining these laws are only available in Burmese language making the information inaccessible to non-Burman ethnic minorities. In addition, this provides little mobility for the ethnic minorities to protest when their lands are confiscated by government officials or troops (source: Reclaiming the Right to Rice, BBC, October 2003).
Forced Sale of Crops to the Government
Farmers in Burma have been required to sell a percentage of their crops to the government at discount prices. This regulation is, as a rule, enforced for rice crops, yet there are also instances where local officials demand farmers sell set portions of other harvests such as beans and fruit crops. This paddy procurement system is implemented by the Myanmar Agricultural Produce Trade (MAPT), a state agency which, along with other arms of the bureaucracy, inherited this mandate from its socialist predecessor. MAPT’s national structure reaches down to the village, where it designates paddy land and collects a fixed quota based on land area. This quota rose steadily from 1988 until 1995, when it was fixed at 12 baskets per acre in high rice-producing areas such as Irrawaddy Division. This crop quota is essentially a crop tax, and is justified by the SPDC as a means of feeding the armed forces, supplying discounted rice to civil servants and exporting rice and other crops in order to gain foreign currency. Yet in practice, the system has failed to improve economic conditions in Burma and has denied food to the very people who grow it.
An inherent flaw in this system is that the government’s quota calculation is based on arable land area rather than amount of rice actually planted or harvested. Farmers who work poor land, or due to poor weather or other conditions produce an imperfect crop, are not exempt from the quota. Instead they must make up the difference by supplying paddy bought on the market. In these cases, the difference between the relatively high market price and the low government purchase rate results in a net loss for farmers.
Households that fail to fill the quota face a variety of consequences. For households unable to sell the earmarked quota to the government, the local authorities, with the help of the armed forces and police, often forcefully confiscate the household’s entire supply of paddy including that used for consumption and seed paddy. If even after such confiscation the quota is still not achieved, the defaulting cultivators are arrested and their rights to cultivate are taken away. While arrests and beatings have been reported, more common is the confiscation of paddy land, for redistribution to other farmers, whom the authorities feel are more capable of producing the required quota. Farmers have also been sent to labor camps to work off their debt. Local military authorities are also said to have ordered the rice mills to close, preventing the milling of harvested rice for consumption or trade until entire villages have filled their quotas. Lastly, farmers have been threatened, berated and publicly abused by government rice procurers dissatisfied with their quota.
In April 2003, the SPDC announced an end to the 40-year-old paddy procurement policy, in an attempt to allow for greater private sector participation in rice exporting. As a result, farmers would no longer be required to sell their rice to the government at fixed rates which were sometimes as low as one sixth of the market rate (source: “Myanmar Junta to Ease Its Stranglehold on Rice," AFP, 7 April 2003). In July, the SPDC announced that under the new paddy procurement policy, which would not begin until 2004, the State would no longer purchase rice directly from the farmers. Instead, all citizens would be allowed to engage in free trade of rice and paddy at market prices. Export of rice would only be allowed in the event of a surplus, and rice exporters would be required to pay a 10% tax (source: Tinchang, Duan, “Myanmar Adjusts Paddy Purchase Policy in 40 years," Xinhua, 29 July 2003). Despite the SPDC’s policy change announcement, forced sale of rice continued to be reported throughout 2003. In some areas, such as Mon and Arakan States, it was reported that new committees and organizations were formed to purchase rice from people in the same manner as before the policy change. The difference being that military officials were not directly purchasing the rice, instead traders were organized to purchase the paddy at fixed prices.
Dry Season Paddy Crops
The SPDC has launched agricultural development schemes throughout the country, but especially in the Irrawaddy Delta area. The government’s main agricultural program is the summer, or dry season, paddy program, in which the traditional single rice crop per year, sown in the rainy season and reaped in the cool season of October-December, is followed by another crop raised and reaped in the hot season. The summer paddy scheme has several elements: development of irrigation systems such as dams and canals; introduction of high yielding hot-season rice strains; and use of new fertilizers pesticides and machinery to cope with the technical complications of the new crop.
These tactics have created two new burdens for farmers. The first is the labor needed to build roads, small dams and irrigation ditches. State-directed, uncompensated labor is commonly practiced in Burma. Farmers who work on these development projects have less time to tend their crops or engage in other subsistence activities. Secondly, the chemical ingredients of the summer rice program are not distributed free to poor farmers, but are sold to them. Farmers who do not buy the necessary materials cannot participate in the program; their unproductive land, officially designated for double cropping, is reassigned to a more able household. Insufficiency of water, inclement weather and unsuitability of crops to be cultivated on certain types of land are proving to be real deterrents to the country’s agricultural development. In some parts of Irrawaddy Division, farmers who could not meet the required quota had to pay the market price in cash for the shortfall to the authorities. In some places floods prevented cultivation. There were some areas where crops failed all three times they were cultivated. These cultivators not only wasted their efforts and suffered losses but also because of their inability to fulfill their quota were arrested in their hundreds.
In some localities the cultivators who could not sow the dry season crop had to make payment at the rate of 300 kyat per acre to Township and village authorities who personally retained these fines. Those farmers who do not have ready cash had to pawn or sell their cattle, carts, houses, etc., to pay the fines.
5.3 Situation of Labor in Burma
Aside from the agricultural sector, the majority of laborers in Burma are struggling for their livelihood under harsh conditions with inadequate pay and no process or system through which their grievances can be aired. Under the market economy system, which has been imposed during the period of SPDC governance, workers in foreign investment and joint venture projects and factories have had to suffer the following:
(a) According to job appointment rules, the employer has the right to dismiss any worker from employment without giving a month’s advance notice, as outlined in existing labor laws. This grants excessive power for exploitation to the employer and prevents a stable workforce from forming at work sites.
(b) There is no process or system by which worker’s grievances can be aired, no mechanisms for demanding labor rights, no trade unions permitted at workplaces and departments, no clear mechanisms for the resolution of cases where a worker was forced to resign (or rather, workers are afraid to complain) and no step by step appeal programs (for negotiations, interventions and plenary discussion). Workers, therefore, suffer considerably.
(c) Foreign employers and investors have established factories in Burma as well as in other countries throughout Southeast Asia. In Burma however, workers receive salaries from foreign employers that are much lower than other countries’ minimum wages. Private employers are in fact prohibited from raising salaries any higher than those of workers in nationalized factories. Thus, they cannot raise wages even if they wish to and so the workers are unable to attain a fair income.
(d) According to Burma’s Leave and Holiday Act, shift workers can work a maximum of 48 hours per week, and those in offices and service industries, 42 hours per week. However, staff and workers in supermarkets and factories, which have appeared as a result of the developing market economy, have to work about 10 hours a day in defiance of labor protection laws. Working on Saturday and overtime duties are also required, but there is no appropriate compensation. Instead, employees are sometimes paid a small amount of money or given some food. Social welfare laws are also ignored. Wage rates have remained unadjusted to the current pace of inflation and workers have therefore continued to be denied a means of maintaining their livelihood. Furthermore, the Labor Compensation Act excludes workers earning over 400 kyat per month. Employers who pay more than this can claim that their workers are not covered by the Compensation Act.
Existing labor affairs laws are outdated and ineffectual and minimum wage laws apply only to government employees and employees of a few traditional industries. The minimum monthly wage for salaried public employees is 600 kyat ($2.00) for what is, in effect, a 6-hour workday. Various subsidies and allowances supplement this sum. Neither the minimum wage nor the higher wages earned even by senior government officials provide workers and their families with a decent standard of living. Low and falling real wages in the public sector have fostered widespread corruption. In the private sector, urban laborers earn about 200 kyat ($0.70) per day, while rural agricultural workers earn about half that. Some private sector workers earn substantially more; a skilled factory worker earns about 4,500 kyat ($15) per day. Surplus labor conditions, a dismal economy and lack of protection by the government continue to dictate substandard conditions for workers. The 1964 Law on Fundamental Workers Rights and the 1951 Factories Act regulate working conditions. There is a legally prescribed 5-day, 35-hour workweek for employees in the public sector and a 6-day, 44-hour workweek for private and state enterprise employees, with overtime paid for additional work. The law also allows for a 24-hour rest period per week, and workers have 21 days of paid holidays per year. However, in practice such provisions benefit only a small portion of the country’s labor force, since most of the labor force is engaged in rural agriculture. Numerous health and safety regulations exist, but in practice the regime has not made the necessary resources available to enforce the regulations. Although workers may in principle remove themselves from hazardous conditions, in practice many workers cannot expect to retain their jobs if they do so.
Wages in Burma are generally insufficient for people to meet their basic living costs. A policeman from Rangoon indicated that his salary of 5,000 kyat per month was not enough to live on, as he only received 3,000 kyat after deductions for taxes and fees. He reported that this was too little to cover the costs of food or healthcare for his family. Another civil servant in Mandalay reported that while he officially received a salary of 4,000 kyat each month, he actually receives 2,000 kyat after taxes and fees are deducted. As a result, he said that his family faces great difficulties (source: HRDU, 2003). In the beginning of 2003, it is believed that rumors of a salary increase for civil servants led to a sharp increase in commodity prices. Both laborers and civil servants were reportedly unhappy about the possibility of a salary increase, due to the rise in prices that was likely to result from it (source: “The Rise and Rise of Commodity Prices," DVB, 14 January 2004). In order to find ways to supplement their meager incomes, many government servants, including administrators, educators and those in the health care sector, are forced to resort to bribery and corruption. Thousands of others are forced to leave Burma and work as migrant laborers in wealthier countries in the region. (See also chapter on migrant workers.)
Other Factors Contributing to the Deprivation of Livelihood
People in areas across Burma are subjected to numerous demands for their hard-earned currency and their hard-pressed time. As the government spends an estimated 50% of the national budget on building up of the armed forces, there is little money allotted for the needs of the nation. Indeed, even the armed forces are not adequately provided for. In 1998, the SPDC in Rangoon informed its field units that rations would be cut back significantly and that they would, in essence, have to ‘fend for themselves,’ by producing their own food or obtaining it from villagers in their areas of operation. Since that order, thousands of acres of land have been confiscated from civilians, without compensation, for army food production or factories. The ousted farmers and local villagers are then frequently made to act as serfs on their former land, planting and harvesting crops for the army battalions who took the land from them.
The SPDC has prided itself on undertaking efforts to improve the nation, such as the building of roads, bridges and railroads. Yet, it has been at the expense of the people of Burma that these national infrastructure projects have been carried out. The projects, which are often for military benefit, are usually severely under funded, and the local people are required to pay for or get the supplies themselves, and then build the projects themselves, at their own time and expense, without pay.
At the Township and village administrative levels, there is also a lack of government funding. Again local people are made to compensate for these deficiencies in the national budget. The people in areas of armed conflict suffer the above economic burdens, as well additional demands which are associated with the significant military presence the SPDC maintains in their regions. Villagers in areas of armed conflict are expected to fully support the army battalions located in their area. They are required to build the army barracks, supplying the materials themselves, and then send "servants" to work without any compensation at these bases. They are also forced to give food, and any other items that army personnel demand from them.
1) Official and Unofficial Taxes and Levies:
Through several officially sanctioned fees and taxes, as well as arbitrary demands for cash from corrupt officials and army personnel, the people of Burma are expected to pay for everything from road construction supplies to state sport ceremonies. The income of Burma’s people is sapped by these constant fees and most households end up forced to pay several thousands of kyat per month in these types of levies. Many villagers are unable to pay and, as a result, are often forced to flee their traditional homes to avoid punishment by the authorities. The most common types of taxes and levies are listed below.
- Porter and Forced Labor Fees: A common practice, especially in conflict areas, is for the villagers to pay a mandatory "porter fee" to the local army battalion. The funds collected from this fee are supposed to go towards hiring porters for army operations. Yet in most cases, these fees are kept by the battalion officers, who then proceed to demand that the villagers supply porters for the army, even after the fee has been paid. These fees are usually around 200-500 kyat per household, per month. In addition, villagers who are unable to fulfill their forced labor duties are made to pay fines of varying amounts to local government or army authorities.
- Administration fees: In several localities across Burma the local people are made to pay monthly fees for Township or village level administration costs. These fees, and whether or not they are actually used for administrative purposes, vary from place to place.
- Festival and Ceremony Fees: Often the government does not provide enough money for their state-sanctioned festival and ceremonies, including religious and sport festivals and even anti-NLD rallies. Where the government falls short, the people are expected to contribute. Government officials, including USDA members commonly send letters or go door to door demanding money for such occasions. In some instances, after the people have given their money, the said occasion never occurs at all.
- Taxes for Development Projects: The social, education and health sectors in Burma are seriously neglected by the SPDC, and thus suffer from an acute shortage of government funding. Local people are often required to pay for the construction of educational and health-care structures, as well as for the running of numerous training programs. In addition, although the SPDC has taken credit for the various national infrastructure projects, it is the local people who are most often responsible for the financing of such projects. Government funding for such development projects is often insufficient or swindled by corrupt officials and the villagers are ordered to provide the money or the supplies necessary for the projects.
- Taxes and Fees for Local Army Units: Civilians are regularly required to pay for the needs of local army units. In addition to demands for food and supplies, they must meet demands for other various expenses which come up, such as the need for army walkie-talkies. Villagers commonly cover the cost for the construction of army related buildings, or supply the necessary materials. In addition, villagers in conflict areas are often forced to pay for lost guns when soldiers desert the army, or pay for the upkeep of surrendered rebels.
- Check points: Travel in Burma involves negotiating passage through numerous checkpoints that are operated by various branches of the state such as the military, police and cease-fire groups. Most exit and entry points to towns have permanent checkpoints. In addition, numerous temporary checkpoints are set up at anytime. These checkpoints inevitably demand payment from those traveling. If cash can not be produced, the authorities demand other items instead. A truck may be required to relinquish farm produce or consumer items it is transporting as a form of payment. According to a woman trader who used to trade along Three Pagoda Pass – Thanbyuzayat motor road, "On this motor road, there are many check-points held by various armed groups. We have to pay every checkpoint after we leave Three Pagoda Pass (a border town with Thailand). At many other check-points we do not have as many problems, but the DKBA always checks all of the goods, takes some goods, and asks for a high tax. Even though they are familiar with our faces as we travel regularly, they still refuse to let us go without any trouble. They never reduce the amount of tax and shout to us that if we do not want to pay, we can stop trading. They treat us really badly. Sometimes, they put us under the hot sun for over one hour until they complete checking our normal goods." (Source: HURFOM)
- Arbitrary Fees, Fines and Taxes: Army officers posted to remote conflict areas, as well as officials in central Burma all receive opportunities to extort money from local villagers with impunity. There are several army officers who have become rich as a result of the numerous schemes they come up with to acquire money. People are therefore subjected to numerous ‘unofficial’ levies, fines and taxes. In some cases people are not even given an explanation as to what their money is going for, but are just told to hand over a certain amount. Officers and soldiers seeking money have been known to set up temporary roadblocks on highways or bridges to demand money from people passing through. Some of these arbitrary levies are associated with discrimination against religious or ethnic minorities, such as in the case of arbitrary taxes which exist only for Muslim Rohingya people in Arakan State. Examples of these include the tree and roof taxes which the Rohingya must pay.
2) Forced Labor
Despite the fact that the government of Myanmar ratified Order No. 1/99 in 2000 which banned forced labor, the well-documented use of civilians as forced laborers has provided Burma with a massive labor force with which to build up its army and national infrastructure (see chapter on forced labor). This labor is mandatory, unpaid and requires that villagers spend varying amounts of time away from their own work. In addition to the economic strain that time away from work brings, the people are also required to provide their own food and equipment for the duration of the forced labor duty. The demand of forced labor is often too strenuous for the already over-burdened people of Burma. Most refugees and migrant workers cite forced labor requirements as one of the major reasons for fleeing.
3) Land Confiscation
As mentioned above, the government of Burma has taken the opportunity to deprive citizens of their land whenever they deem it necessary for "security reasons" or for failure to provide necessary crop quotas. In addition to land confiscated to provide room for army battalions, the state often takes over land that is intended for development projects. People are rarely compensated for land that has been confiscated. In cases where compensation is given, the amount is usually well below the actual value of the land. The deprival of land, which is the sole source of livelihood for many people in Burma, is a major infringement upon their right to livelihood as well as their property rights.
4) Destruction of Property
Loss of property is an obvious hindrance to the livelihood of an individual and their family, yet the SPDC continues to engage in activities that result in the uncompensated destruction of property such as homes and fields. In areas of ethnic conflict this practice is carried out under the "four-cuts" policy, in which the army seeks to destroy any means by which rebel armies can survive. In part of this policy, known as the "scorched earth" campaign, SPDC troops relocate villages in known rebel areas, then burn and destroy everything in the area. The burning of villages is a common procedure following relocation or in campaigns to "search and destroy" rebel activity. Property is also destroyed by the army in other areas of Burma if it stands in the way of planned army or national infrastructure projects.
5) Looting and Expropriation of Food and Possessions
The army in Burma, which sees itself as being the "father of the nation," has long expected the support of the country’s civilians. The various incarnations of the military regime have attempted to instill a mentality in the people in which aiding the armed forces is seen as a national and patriotic duty. Yet this "duty" has become close to unbearable for Burma’s people. In the years since 1998, when the SPDC cut rations for the armed forces, the villagers have faced an extra burden in providing for the soldiers. Some units even detail officers whose main task is to organize this activity. This systematic foraging from the local population is a method (like many others which involve human rights abuses) directly inherited by the Tatmadaw from the Imperial Japanese Army of World War II.
The army personnel have always been underpaid, especially the lower level soldiers and privates, and this had led to their frequent looting of villager property in the past. Now this looting and expropriation of food and possessions is condoned by the State. Army units on patrol who pass through villages simply take what they wish of the villagers’ food and possessions, or else send letters demanding that the villagers bring it to them. Some officers even send "shopping lists" to the local village heads, requesting such things as soap, oil, chicken, rice and cases of beer. The extorted items are rarely paid for. Villagers are even sometimes forced to provide money, food and other requirements for army personnel when they wish to make offerings at local Buddhist temples.
6) Restrictions on Trade, Travel and Cultivation
The restrictions on trade, travel and cultivation that the SPDC army has introduced, especially in areas of armed conflict have made things even more difficult for individuals attempting to make a living and survive. Many people living in areas under SPDC control are restricted from leaving their villages and must pay for passes from authorities in order to gain permission to leave. These passes are often only good for short periods, sometimes only from dawn to dusk. For villagers attempting to work in locations far away, it is nearly impossible to do what is necessary to make a living and then get back on time. The SPDC has, at times, enforced special restrictions in which people are banned from leaving their villages altogether. In these cases, harvests are often destroyed or lost along with other work opportunities.
Trade restrictions imposed by the authorities also result in economic hardship for the people of Burma. Another factor which restricts breadwinners in the country is the existence of landmines, which limits the areas in which labor-seekers are able to move.
5.4 Situation in Arakan State
The economic situation in Arakan state was particularly poor during 2003, and famine-like conditions were reported throughout the year. Despite a reportedly low crop yield due to floods the year before, government officials made no exceptions for the paddy procurement quota. In some areas, officials purchased rice at one fifth of the market price, which rendered farmers unable to break even. Those who were unable to meet this quota faced punishments such as excessive fines, confiscation of land, torture, and arrest. In September, rice was reported to have virtually disappeared from the market while the price of a 50 kg bag of rice increased from 8,000 kyat in August to 12,000 kyat in September (source: “Why the Dollar Increasingly Smuggled into Burma?” Narinjara, 5 September 2003). The SPDC lifted a ban on the import of rice and other food commodities in September, in an attempt to alleviate the rice shortages. Prior to that, the ban prevented rice and other food items like oil and chilies from entering the state. As in 2002, rice continued to be smuggled from Bangladesh. The SPDC also imported rice from other parts of Burma to Arakan State but the high costs of transporting goods led to higher prices. It was reported that a bag of low quality rice would cost 6,000 kyat in central Burma and 9,000 kyat in Arakan state (source: “Arakan Rice Trade Restricted by the Military Junta,” Narinjara, 12 November 2003). The regime granted private companies monopolies over transportation of goods, contributing to markedly high prices for commodities. This as well as excessive taxation made it increasingly difficult for fisherman, farmers, and others to engage in daily work and make a living.
Unfair Taxes and Levies
Burmese Military Intelligence agents extort tolls from fishermen
Beginning in December 2002, Military Intelligence forces have forced fisherman in and around Ponnagyun town to pay tolls. Those who are unable to pay face a 3-month jail term and a fine of up to 50,000 kyat. Many fishermen were reported to be jobless as a result of the toll. Because they are unable to pay the toll, they are unable to fish. (Source: “Burmese Military Intelligence Agents Extort Tolls from Fisherman,” Narinjara, 19 February 2003)
Security forces nab woodcutters for bribes
On 30 January, a group of 18 woodcutters were arrested in Buthidaung town, Arakan state. The group was arrested while they were carrying 10,000 bamboo poles and 130 logs of firewood. Sub Inspector Zaw Linn of Taung-bazar Area Nasaka Security Station demanded 10,000 kyat from the woodcutters alleging that they did not have official permission to cut and carry the logs and bamboo. As the woodcutters were unable to pay the demanded amount of money, they were put in jail. At the time of the report, the group was to be charged under forestry laws (Source: “Security Forces nab Woodcutters for bribes,” Narinjara, 24 February 2003)
Burmese navy station: just for collecting bribes
On 30 June 2003, it was reported that the Burmese Navy checkpoint at Taungfu village on the Kywegu River, in Pauktaw Township, Arakan State was collecting bribes from all the vessels passing the naval station. A rule had been in force that any vessel passing the navy station had to touch the ‘gate’, report to the guards, and sign documents. Even small country boats are not exempt from the illegal taxation. A country boat that did not carry any goods had to pay 200 to 300 kyat. Boats carrying goods had to pay 1,000 to 30,000 kyat, depending upon the nature of the vessel and the goods that were carried. Fishing boats, smuggling boats, trawlers, motor vessels all had to report and pay the guards at the navy gate. (Source: "Burmese Navy Station: Just for Collecting Bribes,” Narinjara, 30 June 2003)
Extortion from car owners as Burmese junta fails to repair roads
On 14 August 2003, it was reported that the Sittwe Municipality collected a 10,000 kyat parking lot tax and 10,000 kyat wheel-running tax from the owners of motor-vehicles as a means of raising funds for road maintenance in Sittwe. The collection followed the visit of Brigadier Gen Maung Oo on 28 July when he ordered people to maintain the damaged roads on a self-help basis. Therefore, the Sittwe Municipality collected money through the taxes to repair roads including Mayu road, Minnbargri Road, Main Road, Strand Road, Merchant Street, and Singu Road. (Source: “Extortion from Car Owners as Burmese Junta Fail to Repair Roads,” Narinjara, 14 August 2003)
Policemen together with immigration arrested 120 men and extorted money
On 30 August 2003, a team of police together with immigration arrested 120 Rohingyas from Koin Daung (Kwan Dine) village of Buthidaung Township in Arakan State and extorted money from them. Seven policemen accompanied by four immigration officers went to Koin Daung village of Buthidaung Township and arrested 120 Rohingya people, of them 75 persons were accused of not paying fees for a foot-ball tournament, 36 persons were accused of not planting seedlings along the roadsides and other 9 persons were accused of crossing the border to Bangladesh. All arrested persons were confined in a primary school in the village. But, they were all released on 1 September after giving bribes to the authorities concerned. Those accused of not paying the football tournament fees were released after paying 3,000 kyat each. Those accused of not planting seedlings along the roadsides were set free after paying a bribe of 5,000 kyat each. The 9 who were accused of illegally crossing the border to Bangladesh were released after paying as follows:
(1) Basar, age 32, son of Jaffor West Koin Daung village, had to pay 20,000 kyat;
(2) Patan Ali, age 40, son of Abdul Sohbi, West Koin Daung village, 16,000 kyat;
(3) Md. Sultan, age 49, son of Md. Sidique, East Koin Daung, 10,000 kyat;
(4) Abdul Kharim, age 27, son of Sultan Ahamed, 25,000 kyat;
(5) Abdul Goffor, age 56, son of Abul Hashim, middle Koin Daung, 11,000 kyat;
(6) Md Ali, age 52, son of Md. Sultan, middle Koin Daung, 9,000 kyat;
(7) Shoffi Rhaman, age 32, west Koin Daung, 12,000 kyat;
(8) Khalu Meah, age 41, west Koin Daung, 13,000 kyat; and
(9) Abdul Khader, age 47, west Koin Daung, 20,000 kyat.
(Source: "Policemen together with Immigration Arrested 120 Men and Extortion,” Kaladan, 11 September 2003)
Burmese Army demands farm products and fire wood to withdraw farmlands
On 25 September 2003, troops from a group of Burmese soldiers accompanied by 3 others from the Township Agriculture Department went to Maung Nama Palay Daung village tracts, Buthidaung Township with the collaboration of the village chairman. The battalion commander issued an order to confiscate 1120 acres of farmlands and grazing grounds which surrounded the battalion No. 564 base. The commander said, “From today, the lands will be owned by the battalion and no villagers can claim ownership.” The commander also warned the villagers that if anyone opposed the confiscation of the lands, she or he would be punished or jailed as an anti-state activist, said a farmer from the village.
On 29 September 2003, the owners of the farmlands accompanied by the chairman went to the commander and submitted an application, requesting that he withdraw the order to confiscate the farmland. Finally, the battalion commander has come to agree with the villagers for a short term withdrawal of the order with the payment of 100 viss (1 viss =1.75 kg) of chili, 200 viss of potatoes, 70 viss of peas and 4 tons of firewood. The landowners also had to sign an agreement to return their lands to the said battalion by 30 April 2004, he further said. (Source: "Burmese Army Demands Farm Products and Fire Wood to Withdraw Farmland Confiscation Order,” Kaladan, 19 October 2003)
Arakan rice traders restricted by the military junta
On 12 November 2003, the local authorities of Arakan state were reported to have asked the rice traders to make a contribution to the Arakan State Peace and Development Council and to the Border Security Forces, Nasaka. A rice trader from Sittwe indicated that a rice bag (50 kg) incurs 200 kyat for the Arakan SPDC and 300 kyat at the Nasaka checkpoint No. 25 on the Rangoon- Sittwe (Akyab) highway. It was reported that these "contributions" are organized at the Sittwe Truck Depot Shwe See Tharrn, because the Nasaka does not want the public to know about this forced "contribution." (Source: "Arakan Rice Traders Restricted by the Military Junta," Narinjara, 12 November 2003)
Looting By the Army
On 12 December 2003, soldiers from BA battalion 564 stopped a boat full of passengers at the Palay Daung army check-point as it was heading to Buthidaung Township, Arakan state. The soldiers proceeded to board the boat and loot the passengers' belongings such as oil and other necessary goods. In reaction, the driver argued with the soldiers but was unable to convince them to stop looting. The boat driver then took back some of the items that the soldiers had taken, an act which angered the soldiers. They then took away all of the passengers’ goods and detained the boat. The passengers were shopkeepers, villagers, students, travelers, and some patients going to Buthidaung for medical treatment. The boat belonged to Mohammad Anwar son of Maulavi Siraj of Krin Tha Mar village, Buthidaung Township, Arakan State and has been working on the river since 1993. It was reported that the village chairmen and secretaries reported the incident to the Western Command Brigadier General Maung Oo but no action was taken. It was also reported that soldiers at army checkpoints frequently loot the belongings of travelers who pass through. (Source: “Army Apprehended A Passenger Boat and Goods in Arakan,” Kaladan, 24 December 2003)
Military Monopoly on Trade and Agriculture
Monopoly on transport sends essential prices up in Burma
On 21 July 2003, it was reported that SPDC authorities granted the Kyaunktaung Transport Company sole rights to the transport business from Sittwe to Taungup. As a result, the price of all essential commodities began increasing. The company not only transports goods but also collects taxes on all the goods they carry including sack loads of vegetables and other perishable commodities. The company has leased the vessels named Aung-Takhun 1,2,3,4, and 5 from the military government for their business. U Kyauktaung from Tangup, the owner of the company, indicated that he must pay for his lease and business fees in US dollars, which he has to buy from the black market at a high price. In addition, he must also bribe the lower level government officials and give a larger bribe to secure his monopoly. It was also reported that due to the lack of a competitive transport system, the price of basic commodities coming from other states and divisions had increased by 40 to 120%, according to a university professor in Rakhine State. At the time of the report, the price of a viss (1.6 kg) of groundnut oil was 1,900 kyat, palm oil was 1,500 kyat, onion was 1,200 kyat, garlic was 1,500 kyat, sugar was 600 kyat, gram pulse was 800 kyat, potato was 400 kyat, an egg was 50 kyat, and diesel fuel was 1,900 kyat to the gallon, and petrol is 1,600 kyat to the gallon. (Source: “Monopoly on transport sends essential prices up in Burma, raises ethical questions,” Narinjara, 21 July 2003)
On 4 August 2003, it was reported that government officials collected 750 kyat from each household in Sittwe for the cost of the black pepper seedlings they will distribute. In addition, the authorities also issued directions for cultivating black pepper to each household. Those who do not comply would face heavy fines and punishment. The local Burma military forces reportedly planned to commence a large-scale black pepper cultivation and project. In conjunction with the cultivation project, the military was reported to have confiscated hundreds of acres of lands from the villagers. (Source: “Black Pepper Cultivation,” Narinjara, 4 August 2003)
Rice purchase teams formed despite hunger in western Burma
In October 2003, it was reported that local Township and village level junta officials across Arakan state were forming a 5-member rice purchase committee in each of the village tracts of the provincial state. The rice growers were directed to sell rice only to the 5-member committees. At the same time, the transportation of rice from 1 village to another has also been prohibited. While the SPDC decided to liberalize the rice procurement policy, the Rice Procurement Supervisory Central Committee was formed with representative of the Myanmar Rice Merchants’ Association and the Myanmar Rice Millers’ Association. Supervisory committees for the Township, district, divisional or state level were also formed. Their function is to bring the government and paddy traders together to coordinate rice purchasing. The Rice Procurement Supervisory Committee would therefore be responsible for all steps necessary until the rice is transported to the State warehouses. The traders will then be paid by bank cheques. The traders will also export rice under the guidance of the committee aside from selling rice to the State. (Source: “Rice Purchase Teams Formed Despite Hunger in Western Burma,” Narinjara, 3 October 2003)
No more free rice trading in Arakan
In the middle of November 2003, the Township Peace and Development Council issued an order to stop all rice-trading between villagers and towns. Those who do not comply with the order would face severe punishment. As a result, the price of rice has considerably declined. The Arakan State authorities instructed the Arakan State Major Business Association to buy all of the rice produced at 120,000 kyat for 100 tin (1 tin = 30 kgs). At the time of the report, the Association had not yet made any offers to purchase the rice. Yet, the price is too low for farmers to make any profit. (Source: “No More Free Rice Trading in Arakan, Says the SPDC,” Narinjara, 17 December 2003)
On 24 December 2003, the Township Peace and Development Council Chairman Hla Pho a meeting in his office inviting all the Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) Chairmen and Secretaries. In this meeting, he asked all participants to grow mustard and green-gram seeds in their paddy lands. He also threatened that if any one did not comply with the order, all his arable land would be seized and the owner would also be punished according to the local law and administration. The authorities do not provide any assistance to the paddy farmers such as seeds, money or farming equipment. (Source: “Paddy Farmers Have To Grow Mustard, the Green Gram Seeds in Their Paddy Lands in Northern Arakan,” Kaladan, 31 December 2003)
On 3 January 2003, the Kyaukpru District Peace and Development Council junta chairman Lieutenant Colonel Aye Gyaw summoned all the government employees related to the rice collection drive, including members of the police force, army officers and local junta leaders to a meeting. He declared that the target for rice collection this year is 330,000 tin for the district. He called for total cooperation of all the concerned officials and armed forces to make the rice collection drive successful in the face of non-realization of the target though the harvest season has long been over, sources said. In compliance with the order the rice from all the villages in the district including the village tracts of Rann-chaung, Ungdaw, Zin-chaung, and Leik-khamaw has been confiscated from the villagers beginning 5 January, at the rate of 12 tin per acre. Shrimp farm, salt field, and fruit orchard owners were also subject to pay 10 tin of rice per acre of their land. Those who were unable to meet the required amount must pay 1,500 kyat per tin of demanded rice. It was also reported that 7 villagers from Leik-khamaw were arrested when they could not meet the demanded amount of rice. (Source: “Burmese Junta’s Gangs of Rice Robbers,” Narinjara, 3 February 2003)
Rice collection from non-cultivators of rice – Burmese junta’s new tricks to squeeze people dry
On 6 February 2003, it was reported that officials in Thandaway district issued orders to collect rice from non-growers of rice like shrimp farmers, orchard owners, fish farm and salt field owners at the rate of 10 bushels per acre. The government fixed price is 300 kyat per bushel. Though the price of rice at Thandway is 1500 kyat a bushel, the junta pays only the fixed price. (Source: “Rice Collection from Non-cultivators of Rice- Burmese junta’s New Tricks to Squeeze People dry,” Narinjara, 6 February 2003)
On 24 February 2003, it was reported that a mobile rice purchase drive unit had been formed in Ramree Township. Unlike previous years, the newly formed Mobile Units went door to door in the villages and village tracts of Ramree Township. The village tracts they visited include Ramm-theik-kri, Ramm-theik-shey, Ma-rwaik-chein, and Abo-brung village tracts. In addition, the mobile units went to the rice collection depots at Doratha and Kung-zatt villages in the island. Each of these mobile units recruited 6 ‘rice collectors’ from the village tracts. The units were been composed of members of the police department, village Peace and Development Council junta, and Township administrative officials. Those who were unable to meet the rice collection quota were forced to buy rice from the market at the price of 2,000 kyat per tin and sell it to the mobile unit for 350 kyat per tin. (Source: “Mobile Rice Purchase Drive Unit,” Narinjara, 24 February 2003)
Villagers forced to sell rice to fill quota for military owned land
In March 2003, it was reported that the military authorities ordered the military to produce 3 tin of rice for each acre of confiscated land, which was confiscated to support the families of members of the armed forces. Instead of collecting rice from their fields, the Nasaka security forces were demanding the 3 tin from the villagers in Maungdaw Township who were already required to sell 12 tin of rice per acre of land cultivated. A total of 1,140 acres of land had been confiscated from villagers. As a result, an additional 3,420 bushels of rice was demanded from the local rice farmers. (Source: “The Tale of the Confiscation of Rice Paddies,” Narinjara, 15 March 2003)
Interest on unrealized ‘quota of rice’ in Burma
In the first week of May, authorities in Arakan State launched an initiative to collect interest on money lent to rice farmers. The ‘interest’ was reported to be a kind of fine imposed on the rice farmers who failed to pay the quota of rice for this season by April 4. Those who could not pay were given a grace period until 29 April to pay the overdue loans. Thereafter, those who had not paid faced a fine of 15% on top of the amount of loan. (Source: “Interest on Unrealized ‘Quota of Rice’ in Burma,” Narinjara, 13 May 2003)
In February 2003, Light Infantry Batallion (LIB) 536 was reported to have confiscated 50 acres of land from villagers in Khanaung-gyi Kan-byin, Rathedaung Township near Sittwe, Arakan state. In addition, LIB 537, stationed in Rathedaung Township, was reported to have confiscated 125 acres of land from villagers near Yaw-Ngun village, Ponnagyun Township. In Buthidaung Township, LIB 345 confiscated more than 200 acres of land from villagers in Let-way-dett and Bajun-chaung village tracts. All the land was reportedly confiscated for the cultivation of black pepper, Pefyin-khon (pigeon pea), and fruit trees. Any money made from the harvest was to be be used to support the families of the members of the armed forces, who were underpaid by the government. (Source: “Burmese Army Grabs Huge Tracts of Civilian Land for Newer Settlement: Design to Tip Ethnic Balance in Rakhine State?” Narinjara, 5 March 2003)
5.5 Situation in Chin State
Unfair Taxes and Levies
In August 2003, the military government authorities in Paletwa Township, Chin state demanded that the people of the township provide 500 kyat and 25 kgs of rice for the compulsory defense training conducted in the township. This created many difficulties for the people in the township as the food demand came at the same time as the monsoon when rice is cultivated. (Source: “Forced Collection of Money for Conducting Civil Defense Training in Chin State,” Narinjara, 3 September 2003)
On 29 December 2003, Dua Chung, a Chin cross border trader from Sentung village report to CHRO that he and his friend has purchased 400,000 kyat worth knitting wools and yarn to sell in Burma. On their way back from India, Mr. Dua Chung and his friend have met with Police Chief Myat Ko Ko of Thantlang police station and 8 members of his troops between Sentung and Fanthen village. The police immediately arrested Mr. Dua Chung and his friend with their goods along with 2 horses that carry their belonging and detained them at the house of Sentung village Peace and Development chairman house. The police threatened them that since the goods are from India, it is illegal and they could face long-term jail term for smuggling foreign goods into the country. Then the police told them that they release them only if they give 50,000 kyat. Thus, Mr. Dua Chung and his friend borrow the money from Sentung village headman and gave it to the police. (Source: Rhododendron Publication, Vol VII, CHRO, January-February 2004)
Looting by the Army
On 8 December 2003, a platoon from the Burmese Army led by a Lieutenant (name unknown) from the Burmese Army LIB 579 based in Kyawk-Daw seized 2 buffaloes from Pu Tui Hung, a 25-year-old Chin farmer from Tinlawng village of Matupi Township in southern Chin State. The incident occurred when Pu Tui Hung was on his way to sell the buffaloes at Paletwa to cover his ailing father’s medical bills. On his way to Paletwas, Pu Tui Hung and the Platoon met between Hemapi and Hemate villages. As soon as they met, the Burmese army seized the buffalos and arrested the owner. The army then, demanded Pu Tui Hung 100,000 kyat for his release and for the 2 buffaloes. The army threatened the victim that if he fails to pay 100,000 kyat, they will detain him in Sinletwas army camp for a long time and he will never get back his buffaloes. Pu Tui Hung begged the army to take 60,000 kyat - that was all the money he had - and release him with his buffaloes as he was on his way to sell the buffaloes to cover his ailing father’s medical bill. The army took 60,000 kyat from Pu Tui Hung and released him with his 2 buffaloes. (Source: Rhododendron Publication, Vol VII, CHRO, January-February 2004)
5.6 Situation in Karen State
Throughout 2003, troops from the Burma Army as well as the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) continued to loot, steal, destroy, and extort money, livestock, and other goods and supplies from the villagers of Karen State. Villagers were not provided with any compensation for the items taken from them, thus causing the already impoverished populations increased hardship. Ongoing demands for forced labor also meant that villagers were unable to complete their own work to provide for themselves and their families.
Note: Dooplaya, Pa-an, Papun and Thaton Districts, as reported below, are all areas demarcated by the KNU as Karen territory. Thaton District falls mostly in the SPDC demarcated area of Mon State, while the area to the east of the Donthami River lies within SPDC demarcated Karen State. Thaton District is under the patrol of the 1st Brigade of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). Dooplaya District falls mostly in SPDC demarcated Karen State and partially in SPDC demarcated Mon State. Dooplaya District is under the patrol of the 6th Brigade of the KNLA. Papun and Pa-an Districts fall entirely in SPDC demarcated Karen State. Papun District is under the patrol of the 5th Brigade of the KNLA and Pa-an is under the patrol of the 7th Brigade of the KNLA. The SPDC does not recognize these as official districts. Instead, the SPDC considers there to be 3 districts (North to South: Kawkareik, Pa-an and Myawaddy) and 7 townships (North to South: Than Daung, Papun, Hlaing Bwe, Pa’an, Kawkareik, Myawaddy, and Kya In Seik Gyi) within Karen State. These townships do not correspond with the KNU demarcated districts, even for those that share the same name.
Looting by the Army
Situation in Dooplaya District
On 8 January 2003, at about 11:50 am, a column of SPDC LIB 103 with a total of 60 men, led by the Battalion Commander Lieutenant Col Myo Myint, came and entered Kweetahoe village and looted the villagers’ property. The owners from the village were Daw Ee Pay, U Pah Lah Hsaw, and U Kyah Shwe. The details of the property taken with the estimated costs are as follows:
(1) 1 golden necklace, weight 5 moothah (equal to 8.16 grams);
(2) 1 golden ear-ring, weight 1 mathah (equal to 4.08 grams);
(3) 1 golden ring, weight 1 mathah (equal to 4.08 grams);
The total weight of items 1, 2, and 3 in gold is 1 kyathah (equal to 16.32 grams);
(4) 11 silver coins, weight 11 kyathah (equal to 179.52 grams);
(5) Items from the shop totaling 4,100 baht;
(6) 1 pig at the current price 3,100 baht; and
(7) Household materials that would cost 1,500 baht.
Moreover, the troops also took and used tractors belonging to the villagers from Kweetahow, T'nawhta, Kweetaoo, Mawkanokhee and Sukalee villages. In doing so, the troops did not provide the tractor owners with any compensation. In addition, the troops indicated that if they wanted to use the tractors again, they would do so. They also indicated that if the owners tried to refuse, they would burn the tractors. (Note: Villagers in this area use Thai currency since they live on the border of Thai and Burma) (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 13 January 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 317, led by Hla Min and Thein Htay looted 6 buffaloes, household items and clothing from Oo-hoo-hta village. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 28 January 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 103, led by Lieutenant Col Myo Myint, looted from Kwee-ta-hoe villagers:
(1) 1 blanket, 1 sarong, 1 sweater, 1 machete, 1 hammock, 2 tin of rice, 2 bags and 1 pot from Tha Nay Heh;
(2) 1 gold chain, 1 pair of gold earrings, 1 gold ring and 2 silver coins from Win Hlaing Moe; and
(3) Merchandise worth 4,000 baht and a pig weighing 30 viss from Kler-poe-pa. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 28 January 2003, at about 11:30 am, troops from Burma Army IB 284, led by Battalion Commander and Column Commander Min Soe entered A'plon (A'plo) village in Winyay Township. There, they took and ate food and items from the following villagers:
(1) Daw Shan Ma, age 60;
(2) Ma Yin Thoung, age 29;
(3) Ma Khin Myint, age 24;
(4) Daw Nan Gaw, age 50;
(5) Naw Aye Nu, age 20;
(6) Ma Khin Aye Win, age 26;
(7) Naw Mu Ku, age 45;
(8) Naw Wine Ku, age 23; and
(9) Saw A'ngai, age 36.
The items taken from the villagers were the following; 2 tin of milk, 16 packets of Kyae Mount (Burmese cake), 2 packets of Zee tote (Burmese food), 3 viss of sugar, 5 sacks of cheroot, 12 packets of Kawt Nyin Totw (Karen cake made of sticky rice), 24 cartoons of London cigarette, 5 cartoons of Lucky cigarette, 12 big bottles of Sprite, 8 tins of Sardine, 1 basin of Mokkhinkah (Burmese noodle), 40 bottles of M-150 cold drink, 10 bottles of orange juice, 10 bottles of cooking oil, 1 big sack of ajinomoto, 1 viss of onion, 1 packet of candle, 1 worm cloth and many bananas. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 4 February 2003, fighting occurred between KNLA troop battalion No.17 of brigade 6 and SPDC LIB 415, Column 1, led by Column Commander Nyunt Aye. After the fighting ended and the KNLA troops left, the Burma Army troops cleared the area and entered Wama village. There, they went into the nearest house belonging to Saw Yoo Nor, son of U Thoung Sein. They found and took his money amounting to 35,500 kyat. They burnt the rest of his property with his house. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 10 February 2003, at 1:30 pm, SPDC LIB 83 troop 1 led by Nyu Aung entered Kya-in Township, beat a woman (Naw Pree Paw) (age 75) and yelled profanities at her. Following this they took 1 of her chickens. (Source: KHRIC, 2003)
On 11 February 2003, at 10:00 pm, SPDC LIB 538 troop led by Second Commander Ny My, arrived in Way yin Township, Nay Bya village and stole 50 chickens, 1 duck, and 1 pot from:
(1) Naw Julia, age 27;
(2) Saw Leh Min, age 40;
(3) Saw Soe Min, age 28;
(4) Saw Dah Kee, age 31; and
(5) U Ka Pin Naw, age 45.
The troops stole the chickens, duck, and pot from the villagers' homes. (Source: KHRIC, 2003)
On 3 March 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 415, led by Major Kyi Aung came to Ta-ku-khee village, Kya-in Township, and looted from villager, Naw Tha Hay (female, age 21), a cow worth 270,000 kyat, to be used for meat. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 3 March 2003, it was reported that troops from LIB 32, led by Gen-Naing Soe, went to the villages in Kya-in Sei-ki Township and took rice from each villager's house illegally. The villagers then had a problem because they did not have food to eat. One pyi of rice costs (450) kyat and other supplies are expensive as well. They have problems paying for things like food, clothing, and health care. One villager stated, "I came here and reported these problems to people who work and care about these human rights violations and about the incident in our area instead of the farmers and people who were violated by the military government troops." (Source: HRDU, 2003)
On 8 March 2003, troops from SPDC IB 61, led by Major Aung Myo Lin came to Pi-ta-kha village, Kya-in Township and looted a total of 12 chickens, 14 pyi of rice, 200 pieces of thatch, 3 papaya fruits and merchandise worth 5,000 kyat from the following villagers:
(1) Naw Po Gay, age 21;
(2) Naw Po Nee, age 19;
(3) Saw Ket Paw, age 43;
(4) Saw Let Thee, age 51;
(5) Naw Mu Mu, age 60;
(6) Naw Win, age 41;
(7) Saw Ah Gay, age 45; and
(8) Saw Pah Lay, age 30.
In addition, the troops forced the villagers to carry these items to Ka-li-khee hill camp. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 11 March 2003, at 10:00 pm, troops from SPDC LIB 588, led by the battalion second in command, looted a total of 15 chickens, 1 duck and 1 pot from the following villagers in Neh-pya village, Win-yae Township:
(1) Naw Julia, age 27;
(2) Saw Ler Meh, age 40;
(3) Saw Soe Min, age 28;
(4) Saw Ta Khee, age 31; and
(5) U Ka Pa Naw, age 45. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 22 April 2003, troops from SPDC IB 61, led by Battalion Commander Htun Lin Aung, shot and killed a cow, worth 150,000 kyat belonging to U Aung Pwint, 64, and a pig worth 20,000 kyat belonging to U Lone Kyaung, of Kaw-daing village, Kaw-ka-reik Township, to be used for meat. Furthermore, these troops looted all of the merchandise from the shop of U Kan Shwe, 40, worth a total of 250,000 kyat. In addition, these troops looted 2 ducks, 3 chickens, 1 wrist watch and 1 flash light from U Tun Lwin (age 60), U Kyaung Twin (age 31) and Maung Htun Tin (age 19). (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 21 June 2003, combined troops from SPDC LIB 710, led by Column 2 Commander Zaw Min Htun, and troops from DKBA 999, came to Tha-blu-kho-khee village. There, they looted 1 gold chain, 1 gold ring, a pair of gold earrings, 1 silver chain and 1,000 kyat cash from villager Naw Eh La. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 9 July 2003, Major Hla Moe of SPDC IB 231 under Military Operation Command 12, killed a goat for meat that belonged to Pein-neh-gon villager U Shwe Thaung (male, age 34). Moreover, Bo Kyaw Oo, from the same unit, extorted 5 chickens from Nget-pyaw-daw villager U Kyaw Aye, M-45. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 14 July 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 586, led by Column 2 Commander Myint Zaw Oo, came to Htee-khaing village, Kya-inn Township, and killed and ate a villager's pig but paid only half of the price. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 30 July 2003, about 80 troops from SPDC IB 61 led by the battalion commander came to Sak-ka-wet village, Kaw-ka-reik Township, and looted from villagers:
(1) Naw Ko May-32; 1 blanket, 1 female sarong, 1 men sarong, 2 shirts, 25 pieces of Karen costumes, 30 silver coins and 10 silver plates;
(2) Naw Moe Bay-20, 10,000 baht, 12 sets of lunch carriers and 2 blouses;
(3) Naw Meh–20, 2 bags, 12 sets of lunch carriers and 2 pots;
(4) Naw Gay Aye, 15 female sarongs, 15 blankets and 2 blouses; and
(5) Naw Thoo Li-21, 4 pots.(Source: KIC, 2003)
Situation in Pa-an District
From 20 January 2003 to 30 January 2003, troops from DKBA 999 looted 18 pyi of rice, 1 viss of chicken meat and 15 chickens, 1 large bag of monosodium glutamate, 1 quarter viss of chili from Pa-ta (Karen quarters) villagers Ma Yi Yi, Pa La Shwe, Ma Kyi Aye, Mu Lah Shee, Daw L1 Tin, Naw My Kyeh, Naw Mu Theh, Ah Pway Po, Naw Too Loo and Daw Mya Thein. Moreover, these troops extorted 8 chickens from Pata (Burmese quarters) villagers Ma Aye Swe, Mu Peh, Aye Khin Kyi and Mu Ki Ka. These troops looted 10 chickens, 1 Muskogee duck, 2 bottles of liquor, 3 packets of cigarettes and other items worth 3,000 kyat in Pata (Guart-teh-gon quarters), villagers from Ngon Ga Lay, Maung Lu Pi, Chit Win, U Paw Moe, Ah Ye Kah, Daw Keh, Ah Meh, Toe Bler and Sa Bo. Moreover, these troops looted 2 baskets of rice from Pi-ta-kha village, 5 viss of chickens 1 basket and 13 pyi of rice, 3 pairs of shoes, 1 carton of cigarettes, 1 packet of Thu-khi-ta cheroots, 23 packets of coffee mix, and 2 large packets of snack from Noh-khee village and Kya-gon village. In addition, these troops demanded villagers, from Hteh-boo village, 5 persons and Ta-ku-kraw village, 5 persons, for portage. Troops from SPDC IB 81 demanded 5 villagers from Taung Zun village for portage who were to work for the army for three days. They also demanded 15,350 kyat worth of items from village head. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 23 January 2003, troops from DKBA 999, Battalion 3, led by Saya Da Ban Pa and Saya Thaw Ngwe Po, came to Htee-baw-plaw village. There, they burnt down 1 house, 8 huts, 9 cattle sheds, 1 buffalo shed and 5 heaps of straw owned by Pu Doe Htee, Mu Wah Toe, Pa Kwee Pa, Pa Kot Hsaw, Cherry Pu, Pu Na Loe, Saw Klay, Paw Htoo Moe and Kee Na Pa. Moreover, these troops looted the following from different villagers:
(1) 15 chickens from Mu Wah Ta;
(2) 2 goats from Naw Ma Htwe;
(3) 2 chickens from Pu Leh;
(4) 8 chickens from Pu Kay;
(5) 1 chicken from Pu Ler Pwe; and
(6) 1 bull from Saw Kay Htoo. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 8 April 2003, at 3:00 pm, troops from SPDC IB 14, Columns 1 and 2, under LID 66 No.3 Tactical Command, burnt down 5 houses in Bu-tho Township. These troops also shot and killed villagers’ chickens and pigs for meat.
On 18 May 2003, troops from SPDC IB 1 led by Company Commander Thaung Myint Oo looted a tin of rice and other items worth 2,500 kyat from the following villagers of Kyaw-kay-khee village, Pa-an Township:
(1) Tee Maung Aye,
(2) Tee Noh No,
(3) Saw Ka Maw,
(4) Naw Cho Cho,
(5) Naw Dah Bo,
(6) Keh Tu Tu,
(7) Naw Ka Neh Moe, and
(8) Maung Aye Myint. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 23 July 2003, at 6:30 am, a section of SPDC troops, including 4 DKBA soldiers, came to Kler-day and fired at a hill paddy farm hut near Kler-ka village, with M-79 grenade launcher. At 11:30 am, these troops kicked Kler-ka villager, Naw Kyeh Kyeh, who was pregnant and looted 3 chickens from her. Moreover, the troops demanded that each household of the village to pay 1,000 kyat for the ammunition, which was expended in the shooting. Later, these troops ordered villagers to send them a pig for meat, by the following day. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 1 August 2003, troops combined from a DKBA unit led by Moe Joe and Pa Daw Boe, and SPDC LIB 703, Column 2, led by Bo Shwe Win, came to Si-pa-day village, Hlaing-bwe Township, and burnt down all the houses and huts in village. The troops shot and killed chickens, pigs and goats for meat and planted landmines in the village. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 3 August 2003, DKBA troops led by Pa Daw Bo and Mojo looted from the shop of school teacher Naw Ku Wah Paw of Htee-pa-reh village items worth 6,000 kyat.
On 6 August 2003, DKBA troops led by Pa Daw Bo and Mojo came to Htee-klee-sa area and shot up the hut of Si-pa-day villager, Saw Ta Ku Ku (age 46), and then burnt down the hut which contained 8 baskets of paddy. These troops also looted 10 baskets of rice, some pigs and chickens from the villagers and arrested villager Saw Ta Ku Ku. He was not released up to the time of this report. Furthermore, they raped and later shot to death Naw Mu Ku (age 17), the daughter of Saw Ta Ku Ku. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 11 August 2003, DKBA troops led by Pa Daw Boe and Mojo, came to Kaw-lah-wah and looted 2 pigs, 3 chickens, 4 pots and 2 machetes worth 100,000 kyat from Htee-moe-khee villager, Naw Kyaw Kyaw. They also looted 5 baskets of rice, 1 pig worth 40,000 kyat and 5 chickens from villager Pa Yu Kho. Moreover, these troops looted 10 baskets of rice and 3 chickens from Htee-moe-khee villager, Naw Mu Ku, and burnt down her hut. (Source: KIC, 2003)
Situation in Pa-pun (Mutraw) District
On 10 January 2003, Battalion Commander Kyaw Kyaw Oo from IB 36 shot and killed Saw Nay Kaw (age 55), from Noh Paw Htee village, Ka Ter Hti village tract, Dwe Loe Township. On the same day, the same troops from IB 36 looted 1 pig, about 12 kg of betel nuts, 1 chicken and 1 duck belonging to Naw Ma Yin. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 23 January 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 104, led by Battalion Commander Zaw Min, entered Hteelawthihta village. They took and ate food and property from the villagers such as 38 chickens, 1 blanket, 9 baskets (18 tin) of corn, 3 baskets (6 tin) of rice, 5 ducks, 3 viss of jaggery and 1 large packet of dried tea leaves. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 3 February 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 534, Column 2, led by Officer Than Shwe entered Htee Thehlay village and forcibly took and ate food and property from the villagers as follow: 3 chickens, 1 packet of dried tea leaves, 5 blankets, and 4 choppers. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 4 February 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 534 entered Hteelawthihta village and took and ate the following food and property from the villagers: 13 chickens, 1 tin of rice, 2 big steel spoons, 1 viss of salt, and 2 steel plates. On the same day, DKBA troops led by Po Mer combined with SPDC troops entered Laykwelor village. There, they took and ate the following food and property from the villagers; 17 chickens, 1 tin of rice, 1 shoulder bag, 2 percussion lock firearms, 1 viss of chili. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 5 February 2003, SPDC IB 36, Column 2, led by Officer Thet Htoo, entered Hteethebluhta village and arrested 1 of the villagers, namely Saw Maw Kyaw (age 35). They tortured him bitterly by hitting him 4 times with the back of a chopper, jabbing him in his face 3 times and hitting him 3 times in his calves. He is a penniless villager. Moreover, after torturing Saw Maung Kyaw, the troops took and ate food and property from the villagers as follows: 1 tin and 1 pyi (8 small tins) of rice, 5 chickens, 5 coconuts, 3 bottles of liquor and 5 viss of pork. The same day, the troops went back and entered Bawthohta village where they took and ate food from the villagers as follows; 11 chickens, 2 ducks and 2 tin of rice. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 11 February 2003, SPDC IB 36, Column 2, led by Battalion Commander Kyaw Kyaw Oo, entered Hteelawthihta village where they forcibly took and ate 1 pig of weighing 25 viss belonging to a woman villager named Mi Cho. The troops paid nothing for the pig. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 12 February 2003, troops from IB 36, led by Company Commander Thet Htoo, entered Hteelawthihta village where they forcibly took and ate 11 chickens from the villagers. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 22 February 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 38, Column 1, led by Battalion Commander Hla Myint, entered Therperpah village where they forcibly took and ate 2 chickens, 7 pyi (56 small tins) of rice and 1 viss of chili from the villagers. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 19 February 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 341 based at Mae-klaw village looted from Klaw-day villagers, Naw Toe Moo (2 chickens) and Naw Mu (1 machete) and Day-law-pu villager Naw Tay (1 chicken) and Pah Tay (1 machete). (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 30 May 2003, troops from Lib 24, division 66, led by the column commander from Column 2, Kyaw Shwe, shot and killed a villager from Theh Kya Pu namely Pah Lah Day (age 50). At the same time, the troops burnt down houses from Theh Kya Pu village and many other things, including rice barns. At the time of this report, it was confirmed that 1 rice barn belonging to Naw Bwe containing 125 basket of paddy, 1 rice barn belonging to Ta Ke Na containing 80 baskets of paddy and 1 rice barn of Pah Theh containing 35 baskets of paddy were all burnt. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 14 June 2003, troops from Burma Army IB 63 led by Aung Kyaw Soe entered Ka Wa Poe Klah village, Butho Township and looted food from the villagers. Villagers whose food was looted were:
(1) Pah Saw Pleh, 4 chickens of chicken;
(2) Pah Tha Di, 1 chicken;
(3) Pah Loo, 2 chickens;
(4) Naw Klu, 1 hen with eggs;
(5) Pah To Lar, 1 chicken; and
(6) Pah Li Klo, 7 pyi (56 small tins) of rice.
Moreover, the troops hit Pah Li Klo 4 times on his back. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 6 July 2003, Company Commander Aung Khaing from LIB 51 and Commander Tin Win entered Mae Nyu Hta village, Butho Township and took things and ate food belonging to the villagers such as 1 chicken, 1 plastic sheet, 1 pair of slipper and 1 pyi (8 small tins) of rice and also beat up 1 of the villagers. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 16 July 2003 the SPDC LIB 51, Battalion Commander Tin Win's Company Commander, Aung Khaing, entered Mae Nyo Hta village and took 1 chicken from Saw Pa Say and 1 plastic sheet and 1 pyi (8 small tins) of rice from Saw Lay Le, who was also struck on his head with a stick. Moreover, this commander took 2 villagers to stay with him and serve as messengers every day until he left the village. Then, starting from 27 July 2003, LIB 51 demanded 2,000 kyat every day instead of the messengers. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 24 July 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 6, Column 2, under LID 66 led by Bo Than Oo, came to Baw-tho-hta village Dwe-lo Township and extorted 3 tin of rice from the villagers. Moreover, these troops took 2 Mae-thu-hta villagers for making thatch. The troops ordered them to pay 2,000 kyat each if they did not want to do the work. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 9 September 2003, troops from Burma Army division 66 entered Ta Ri Per Kho village, Butho Township and took and ate 10 chickens, 30 viss (1.6 kilos) of durian jam and 1 bag from the villagers. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 3 October 2003, troops from Burma Army division 66 entered Bow Hta village area, Butho Township and burnt down paddy huts belonging to Pah Way, Pah Day Day, Pah Thar Wah, Pah Kheh, Kyay Nya Paw and Maung Win Kyi. (Source: KORD, 2003)
Situation in Thaton District
On 13 January 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 102, led by Company Commander Thet Shwe Oo, came to Yo-kla village, Bi-lin Township and fed the villagers’ livestock with food laced with poison. As a result, 1 pig belonging to Sheh La Baw and 1 pig belonging to Tee Lun Maung were killed. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 1 April 2003, troops from SPDC IB 35 led by Column Commander Maung Maung Khaing came to Noe-ta-lar-aw village, Tha-ton Township, and looted from the following villagers:
(1) 1 chicken from Saw Maw Htaw;
(2) 1 chicken from Ma Ni Kyay;
(3) 1 chicken from Maung Thein Win Moe;
(4) 2 chickens from Ma Pi Moe;
(5) Half a viss of pork from Maung Khin Nyo; and
(6) 2 viss of pork from Chit Tha Moe.
Moreover, these troops beat up villager Maung Pwint without reason. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 6 April 2003, combined troops from SPDC IB 11, led by Battalion Commander Than Sein Htun, and DKBA, led by Tee Pu, came to Khaw-po-pleh village, Bilin Township, and looted 6,000 kyat from Naw Mu Ta Ler's shop. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 14 April 2003, troops from SPDC IB 35, led by Column 2 Commander Khin Maung Zaw, came to upper Naw-ka-toe village, Tha-ton Township, and looted 9 pots, 7 steel plates, 12 steel spoons, 13 male sarongs, 5 female sarongs, 8 shirts, 5 blouses, 2 pairs of Jean trousers, 4 machetes, 4 blankets, 4 viss of chilli, 5 viss of fish paste, 4 baskets of rice and 56,500 kyat from Naw Hkee Lar. In addition, they looted 2 goats and 1 chicken from Naw Naw Re. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 25 April 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 10, led by Battalion Commander Myint Lwin, came to Nya-po-khee village, Bi-lin Township and looted from villager Saw Li Baw 19,000 kyat and half a kyat weight gold ring.(Source: KIC, 2003)
On 2 May 2003, troops from SPDC IB 88 led by Battalion Commander Hla Ohn Naung Thint looted 1.25 baskets of rice, 1 bottle of liquor and 3 chickens from villagers of lower Kaw-heh village, Pa-an Township, and a tin of rice from upper Kaw-heh village. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 4 May 2003, at 7:00 pm, troops from SPDC IB 11, led by Yo-kla Camp Commander Captain Soe Win, burned down a saw mill owned by Maung Ohn Lwin of Be-lin Township and 300 logs collected by villagers to build houses. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 10 May 2003, troops from SPDC IB 11, Column 1, led by Battalion Commander Thant Zin Tun, came to Ta-eu-ni village, Bi-lin Township, and burned down a saw mill, with 100 logs, of Pa-ya-raw villager Maung Aung. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 10 May 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 108, led by Company Commander Myint Oo, looted from villagers of Ta-eu-ni village, Bi-lin Township, 3 chickens and 2 baskets of rice.
On 10 May 2003, Battalion Commander Khin Maung Zaw of SPDC IB 35 came to Naw-ka-toe village, Tha-ton Township, and demanded from villagers:
(1) Naw Ma Eh, 1 chicken;
(2) Naw Ta Loo, 1 chicken;
(3) Pa Dwe Moe, 1 chicken; and
(4) Naw Peh, 2 chickens.
On that day these troops came to Noe-ta-la-aw village and demanded from villager, Saw Maung Htaw, 1 chicken. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 11 May 2003, combined troops of SPDC IB 35, led by Battalion Commander, Khin Maung Zaw, and DKBA troops, led by Saw Tho Hgeh, came to Ta-roi-khee village, Tha-ton Township, and stole ducks and chicken belonging to the following villagers:
(1) Pa La Pah, 2 ducks;
(2) Ma Yaung, 2 ducks;
(3) Saw Shwe Ya, 2 ducks;
(4) Naw Doo, 1 duck; and
(5) Ma Noo Moe, 1 chicken. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 12 May 2003, troops from SPDC IB 35, led by Aung Kyaw Oo, came to Ta-roi-khee village, Tha-ton Township, and looted chickens and ducks from the following villagers:
(1) Naw Bi, 1 chicken;
(2) Naw Mu Thoo, 2 ducks;
(3) Naw Pa Hla, 1 duck;
(4) Naw Aye Pe, 1 chicken;
(5) Ma Doo, 3 chickens;
(6) Naw Kreh, 1 duck; and
(7) Naw Ter Ler, 1 duck. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 15 May 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 108, led by Battalion Commander, Aung Thein, came to Htee-si-baw village, Bi-lin Township, and extorted 5 viss of onions from Maung Po Khin and 3 baskets of rice from other villagers. These troops also looted from Mya-lay village, 8 chickens, Tha-waw-pya village, 5 chickens and 1 pig weighing 30 viss. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 17 May 2003, troops from SPDC IB 35, led by Column 1 Commander Aung Kyaw Oo, and Company Commander, Tin Maung Maung, looted the following items from the following villagers in Naw-ka-toe village, Tha-ton Township:
(1) Ma Than Myint, 2 chickens;
(2) Ma Than Cho, 4 ducks;
(3) Naw Ta Moo, 1 duck;
(4) Ma Hla, 1 duck;
(5) Mu Ker Lar. 2 chickens;
(6) Naw Ma Nge, 1 chicken; and
(7) Ma Than Kyi, 1 male sarong. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 17 May 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 10 led by Battalion Commander Myint Lwin and 15 DKBA soldiers entered Ta U Khee village. On 19 May 2003, these troops went up to the top of the Htee Mu Say Mountain, found and shot at the hut of villager Pah Be with both small arms and heavy weapons. They also took and ate his food and things such as 3 tin of rice, 4 cooking pots 2 spoons and 1 viss of sesame paste. Than after, this troop went back to the village and demanded that the villagers to buy them 1 goat for their curry that would cost 15,000 kyat and went back to Baw Khee village and slept there. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 19 May 2003, combined troops of Column 1 from SPDC LIB 10, led by Battalion Commander, Myint Lwin, 10 DKBA troops and 5 troops from an anti-insurgent unit, led by Maung Hla, came from Ta-eu-khee village to Htee-moo-si-khee mountain range, Bi-lin Township, and set fire to the hut of Pah Bi with both heavy weapons and small arms. The troops then looted from the hut a tin of rice, 4 pots, 2 spoons and a viss of sesame oil. Moreover, Maung Hla demanded from villagers a goat worth 15,000 kyat. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 21 May 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 108, led by Column Commander Thein Zaw and Company Commanders Khaing Htun and Myint Oo, came to Htee-si-baw village, Bi-lin Township and asked to buy 10 viss of pork but paid only half the price for it. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 24 May 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 108, led by Column Commander Thein Zaw and Company Commanders Khaing Htun and Myint Oo, extorted 28 pyi of rice from Htee-si-baw village, 1 viss of cooking oil 5 bottles of liquor and 5 chickens from Khaw-po-pleh village and 1 tin of rice from villager Pa Maung Soe in Bi-lin Township. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 25 May 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 108, led by Company Commander Myint Thein, came to Htee-hser-khee (Mya-lay) village, Bi-lin Township, and shot and killed 1 pig and 15 chickens belonging to the villagers, to be used for meat. The troops also looted 3 packets of cheroots and 3 tin of rice. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 25 May 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 108, led by Column 2 Commander Aung Myint, came to Per-wah-hta village, Bi-lin Township, and fired their guns. The villagers were frightened and to hide. The troops then entered the deserted houses and looted items from:
(1) Shwe Peh Moe's, 2 pyi of rice;
(2) Ma Aye Myint's, 5 baskets of rice, 2 chickens, 6 bottles of sesame oil and 500 kyat cash;
(3) Maung Lun's, 1 chicken;
(4) Tha Hla's, 1 chicken;
(5) Naw Kree Moe's, 1 chicken;
(6) Naw Ta Kyet's, 1 chicken; and
(7) Shwe Tha's, 10 pyi of rice.
Moreover, these troops struck 3 times with rifles butts and kicked 2 times at Per-wah-hta villagers Pah The (age 48), son of Pa Hser Gu, and Su Pu Pu (age 25), and extorted from the villagers 20 pyi of rice. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 29 May 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 108, led by Company Commander, Myint Oo, came to Shwe-oh-tha-waw-pya village, Bi-lin Township, killed a villager's pig for meat, and looted 2 baskets of rice. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 30 May 2003, troops from SPDC IB 1, Column 2, demanded 1 basket of rice from Htee-meh-baw village and 1 basket of rice from Htee-po-neh village. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 2 June 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 108, led by Battalion Second-in-Command Thein Zaw, came to Ta-eu-ni village, Tha-ton Township, and looted from villagers 4 pyi of rice and some household items. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 4 June 2003, troops from SPDC IB 1, led by Battalion Commander Nyan Soe, came to Kru-see village, Pa-an Township and looted from villagers 12,000 kyat worth of household items. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 4 June 2003, combined troops from SPDC LIB 10, led by Battalion Commander, Myint Lwin, and troops from an anti-insurgent unit, led by Maung Hla, came to Ta-eu-ni village, Tha-ton Township. There, the troops looted from villagers a pig worth 15,000 kyat, 2 bottles of liquor, 1 basket of rice, 2 chickens and 10 viss of pork. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 5 June 2003, troops from SPDC IB 35, Column 2, led by Khin Maung Zaw, looted from villagers of Ta-maw-daw village, Tha-ton Township, 7 1/2 baskets of rice and 1 pig worth 30,000 kyat from Naw Ma Bi. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 7 June 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 108, Column 2 Unit 2, led by Aung Mya came to Mae-naw-theh village, Bi-lin Township, and looted 11 chickens 1 duck, 1 pig, 1 tin of rice and 1 dog from villagers. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 17 June 2003, combined troops from SPDC IB 96 and an anti-insurgent unit led by Min Htun, Maung Kyi Thwin, Pa Gaw, Maung Hla and Pa Ma Tay came to Pi-tee-khee village, Bi-lin Township and shot and killed a pig belonging villager Naw Ma Keh for meat. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 20 July 2003 the combined troops of 20 DKBA soldiers led by Than Htun and SPDC LIB 3/ IB 8 came into Thaton Township area and started their activities. On 22 July 2003, other troops from SPDC LIB 108, Column 1, led by the Column Commander Soe Hlaing entered Khaw Htee Khee village and stole 1 duck from Ma Aye Ti, 3 chickens from Paw Paw and 1 chicken from Ma Tin May. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 25 July 2003, DKBA troops led by Pa Lay Htoo and Shwe Tha Li came to Yo-kla village, Bi-lin Township, and ordered Htee-pa-doh-hta village head, Sa Ta Pi, to provide 30 sacks of rice from West Htee-pa-doe-hta village and 30 sacks from East Htee-pa-doh-hta village, within 3 days. They threatened to take action if the demanded rice was not provided. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 30 July 2003, the DKBA troops led by Pa Lay Htoo, Shwe Tha Li and Soe Moe summoned East Yo-kla village head and demanded the following:
(1) 10 sacks of rice from East Yo-kla village;
(2) 10 sacks of rice from Kaw-po-kho village;
(3) 10 sacks of rice from Htee-pa-doe-khee village;
(4) Lay-kaw-hti village 5 sacks; and
(5) Htaw-klaw-hta village 5 sacks, which were to be brought to Yo-kla village within 5 days.
They threatened to take action if the villagers failed to comply with the demand. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 29 October 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 5, Column 1, led by Kyaw Kyaw Naing, under LID 66, came to Per-wah-hta village and went into the following villagers’ houses and looted the following items:
(1) Tee-hu-than, 3 pots, 1 frying pan, 2 machetes, 2 large spoons, 10 steel spoons, 1 diving mask, 15 plates, 1 Seiko-5 watch, 1 Casio watch, 4 new man sarongs, 1 pair of Karen dress, 2 blankets, 2 shirts, 2 children dress, a pair of pliers, 1 chicken, 2 baskets of rice, 4 Karen blankets, 1 large packet of mono sodium glutamate, 2 bars of soap, 1 tin of insecticide, 1 large tin of health tonic;
(2) Po-kyay-kyay, 12 dinner plates, 12 steel spoons, 12 cups, 5 machetes, 1 steel lunch carrier, 1 steel tray, 2 female sarongs, 3 Karen woman dresses, 3 new man sarongs, 3 shirts, 6 pairs of trousers, 4 blankets, 4 bottles of sesame oil, 3 chickens, 1 Karen bag, 1 silver coin, 5,000 kyat, 1 large packet of mono sodium glutamate and 5 kyat weight of chilli;
(3) Naw Eh Bu, 2 gold rings, 4 silver coins, a pair of silver bangles, 5 chickens and 1 machete;
(4) Tee Maung Kyi, 1 chicken, a pig weighing 20 viss and 1 machete;
(5) Naw We, 3 chickens, 10,000 kyat, 5 viss of palm brown sugar cake, 5 steel plates, 5 packets of cheroots and 1 machete;
(6) Tee Maung Toe, 2 chickens, 3 ducks, 2 large spoons, 3 small spoons, 8 plates, 1 cup, 5 silver coins, a pair of silver bangles and 1 new male sarong;
(7) Naw Mu Kwee, 3 steel plates, 5 steel spoons, 2 woman sarongs, 2 blouses, 1 shirt, 1 male sarong, 1 pot, 1 machete, 5 chickens, 5 ducks, 1 tin of lighter flints, 1 large packet of monosodium glutamate and 1 blanket; and
(8) Kyaw Yo, 2 large pots and 2 chickens. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 14 December 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 102 based at Kwee-lay-tha-waw-pya looted the following from villagers:
(1) Tee Meh, 1 chicken and 1 pyi of rice;
(2) Mu Khee Moe, 30, gourds;
(3) Lah Li Moe, 1 chicken and 1 pyi of rice;
(4) Kaw Soe Roe Moe, 1 pyi of rice and 1 pyi of sticky rice;
(5) San Moo Moe, 1 spoon;
(6) Say Gay Paw Moe, 4 plates and 4,000 kyat;
(7) Po Teh Kay, 4 plates of coffee mix; and
(8) Mu Ka Neh, 1 chicken.
The troops also demanded 10 villagers for portage. (Source: KIC, 2003)
Unfair Levies and Taxes
Situation in Dooplaya District
On 5 January 2003, a column of SPDC LIB 416 entered Maekathawhta village in Kawkarait Township and extorted 30,000 kyat. This troop also demanded 10,000 kyat from Maung Hla Yi of P'nwepu village. Maung Hla Yi was a 35-year-old elephant owner at the time. These troops also forced the villagers to provide 8 baskets (16 tin) of rice. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 9 January 2003, troops from Burma Army IB 284, led by Battalion Commander Kyaw Win ordered the villagers from Talaygone and Kyakachoung villages to provide the troops with 1000 baskets (2000 tin) of paddy and Theminlit village to provide 400 baskets (800 tin). The troops threatened the villagers saying they would have to pay more if they refused to fulfil the requirement. On the same day, these troops instructed those villagers to serve on the construction of the Kyakachoung - Choungwa car road. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 1 February 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 415, led by Column 1 Commander Nyunt Aye, extorted 20,000 kyat from villager Saw Pay Tha of Nat-chaung-pya village in Kya-in Township. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 3 March 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 55 led by Secondary Commander Aung Kyaw Oo went to Payah village and forced the villagers to feed them with 1 pig worth 10,000 kyat and 3 oil containers of rice. They did not pay for the food that they ate. (Source: KHRIC, 2003)
On 3 March 2003, SPDC LIB 415 troops, led by General Kyi Aung, arrived in Kya Aye Township, Ta Ku Kee village. They confiscated an ox from Naw Tha He (age 21). The ox cost 27,000 kyat. They didn't give any money to the owner. (Source: KHRIC, 2003)
On 6 March 2003, troops from SPDC IB 283 and IB 62, Column 1 and 2, commandeered 8 tractors with trailers from villagers in Chu-ka-lee village, Ta-naw-hta village, Kwee-ta-eu village, Kwe-ta-ho village and Maw-ta-noe village to carry army food supplies from Chu-ka-lee to Tha-waw-thaw.(Source: KIC, 2003)
On 19 March 2003 SPDC LIB 284, that was based out of Kya Aye Township, Wa Boe Goun village, forced Wa Ma Ki village to give 480 oil containers filled with rice; Ti Poe Lay Gaw village, 300 containers; Ta Da Oo village, 240 containers; Payah Layzay village, 90 containers; and Wah Ma 300, DaMayLeh village 200, and Kyoe Wai village 250 containers for the troop. (Source: KHRIC, 2003)
On 30 March 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 90, secondary LIB 61 led by General Tha Aung came to Kya Aye Township and ordered the villagers to cut 150 bamboo trees for The Poe Tha or The Ho Tha military camp. They also forced 50 women and 27 men to carry it to the camp. (Source: KHRIC, 2003)
On 11 April 2003, Company 2 Commander Htun Sein of SPDC LIB 906 demanded 1,000 pieces of thatch and 1,000 bamboo poles from Laung-kaing village, Section 5 villagers, and ordered them to send the items to the army camp in southern Kay-in village for camp renovation. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 13 April 2003, about 30 troops, led by Camp Commander Sun Aung of SPDC IB 61, under Military Operation Command 19 demanded 20 bullock carts from Tha-mein-dok village, Kaw-ka-reik Township, to transport army rations to Kya-in-seik-kyi Town. As the demanded number of bullock carts could not be given, these troops extorted 66,000 kyat from the villagers as a fine. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 24 April 2003, about 30 troops, led by Battalion Commander Sun Aung from SPDC IB 61, under Military Operation Command 19 demanded 20 bullock carts to transport army ration to Kya-in-seik-kyi town from Win-ka village, Kaw-ka-reik Township. As the demanded number of bullock carts could not be given, these troops extorted 40,400 kyat as a fine from the villagers. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 6 May 2003, SPDC troops ordered villagers from 5 sections of Htee-po-than village, Kyone-doe Township, to cut 500 bamboo and 30 timber poles and instructed the villagers to send them to the army camp.(Source: KIC, 2003)
On 7 May 2003, Camp commander Aung Khaing of SPDC LIB 61 ordered villages in Tha-byu, Ler-dwe, Thay-kho and Kyauk-tan villages in Kya-in Township, each to cut 100 bamboo poles and send them to the army camp for construction of barracks, at Htee-po-than village, Kyone-doe Township. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 19 May 2003, the SPDC LIB 355 troops under No.12 Military Operation Command headquarters led by Battalion Commander Soe Hlaing, demanded 30 viss of pork from Kroo-kyaik and Kyone-doe villages for their military trainees in the camp near Than-byu-zayat motor road. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 28 October 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 588, Column 2, led by Column 2 Commander Ye Naing, demanded a sum of 10,000 kyat, to rebuild the village church, from each household of Htee-hgu-thaw village in Kyone-doe Township. (Source: KIC, 2003)
Situation in Pa-an District
On 29 March 2003, troops from DKBA Battalion 2, led by Aung Lay, extorted 145,000 kyat from the Lah-hta-weh village head. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 30 May 2003, DKBA troops, led by Pa Zaw Bo, demanded a goat and 2 chickens, for use as meat from each of the villages of Khaw-thoo-khee, Htee-mo-khee and Htee-pa-rai. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 30 May 2003, SPDC IB 1, Column 2, entered Hteehisbaw village and demanded 2 tin of rice. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 1 June 2003, DKBA Thaw Ma Na and SPDC IB 1, Column 1, entered Noaular village, threatened Saw Pee Pe and demanded 40,000 kyat after accusing him of being in contact with the KNU. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 11 June 2003, combined troops from DKBA, led by Pa Daw Boe, and SPDC LIB 703 Column 2, led by Htun Htun Win, accused Htee-pa-reh village and Wa-mee-kla village of having connections with the KNU. As a result, the troops demanded that the villagers pay 1,500,000 kyat as a fine during the period between 11 June 2003 and 16 June 2003. These troops threatened to burn down the villages, if the villagers failed to meet the demand. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 9 September 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 66 came to Ta-reet-po-kwee village and extorted 10 chickens, 30 viss of durian fruit jam and a gunny bag from villagers. (Source: KIC, 2003)
Situation in Pa-pun (Mutraw) District
On 28 January 2003, LIB 104 led by Zaw Maw entered Htee Law Thi Hta, Hte Tha Blu Hta village tracts, and extorted 40 chickens, 9 baskets of paddy, 3 tin of rice and 5 ducks from the villagers. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 3 February 2003, Column 2 from IB 534, under the control of Battalion Commander Than Sein, entered and extorted 3 chickens, 5 blankets, 4 knives and 5 slippers from the villagers of Htee Ther Lay. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 4 February 2003, Column 2 from IB 534, under the control of Battalion Commander Than Sein and Company Commander Hla Win, extorted 13 chickens and 1 tin of rice belonging of the villagers in Htee Law Thi Hta village. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 5 February 2003 IB 36, led by Kyaw Kyaw Oo, entered into Baw Tho Hta and extorted 11 chickens, 2 ducks and 2 tin of rice.
On 7 February 2003, troops from SPDC IB 36, Column 1, led by Officer Thet Htoo, entered in to Noh Gaw village and extorted 2 chickens and about 24 kg of pork. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 10 February 2003, Pah Kay Kay of DKBA, based at Mae-mwe-hta, demanded from Mae-ku-hta village 1,000 pieces of thatch, 500 bamboo poles, from Toe-mu village 1,000 pieces of thatch and 1,000 bamboo poles and from Htee-doh-hta village 1,000 pieces of thatch and 1,000 bamboo poles. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 15 February 2003, the SPDC troops based at Ka-daing-ti demanded from Mae-khu-hta village 900 pieces of thatch, 500 bamboo poles, from Toe-mu village, 1,000 pieces of thatch and 1,000 bamboo poles and from Htee-doh-hta village 1,000 pieces of thatch and 1,000 bamboo poles. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 20 February 2003, the SPDC troops based at Htwee-thee-eu demanded from Mae-khu-hta village, 500 pieces of thatch, from Toe-mu village 500 pieces of thatch and 500 bamboo poles and from Htee-doh-hta village 500 pieces of thatch and 500 bamboo poles. Moreover these troops demanded from villages of Mae-ku-hta, Mae-khu-khee, Toe-mu and Htee-doe-hta each a person a day, to stand sentinel for security of the SPDC troops at Mae-khu-hta village. Twice each month these 4 villages had to carry food supplies for the army. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 20 February 2003, troops from SPDC IB 38, based at Mwe-khu-hta village, ordered the villages of Mae-khu-hta, Mae-khu-khee, Toe-mu and Htee-doe-hta each to give 6 viss of chicken. The chickens were valued at 1,500 kyat per viss. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 20 February 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 340 demanded 1,000 pieces of thatch and 200 bamboo poles from Baw-hta village, Mae-klaw village tract. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 4 May 2003, the SPDC LIB 341 commander demanded 500 pieces of split bamboo from villagers of Klaw-day village, Dweh-lo Township. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 1 June 2003, DKBA troops, led by Pah Kyaw Heh, came up and entered Mae Mweh Hta village, Butho Township and organized a meeting with the villagers from surrounding area. The soldiers extorted 6,200 kyat from T’per Pah village of 26 households and 5,000 kyat from Kler Hsi Kho village with 20 households for the price of pigs for their curry. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 20 June 2003, an officer from the DKBA K'hsaw Wah battalion named Pah Na Di organized a memorial service for his parents at K'wa Hta village. He forced the villagers to provide him with 360 thatches for roofing and so each household had to give 40 thatches. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 27 June 2003, SPDC LIB 38 Min Myo Column entered and made activities in Bo Ma Heh village area, Dwelo Township and demanded rice and household animals from the villagers as they had not taken any rations along with them. They asked for 24 baskets of rice, 1 chicken and 1 duck from Htee Ther Lay village and 3 tin of rice from Bo Ma Heh village. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 28 June 2003, the DKBA K'saw Wah battalion, led by Pah Kay Khay, entered Thwa Hta village and extorted 10,200 kyat from the villagers. Each household had to give 600 kyat. Moreover, he demanded 1 goat that was valued at 10,200 kyat as well. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 24 July 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 6, Column 2, under LID 66 led by Bo Than Oo, came to Baw-tho-hta village Dwe-lo Township and extorted 3 tin of rice from the villagers. Moreover, these troops took 2 Mae-thu-hta villagers for making thatch. The troops ordered the 2 to pay 2,000 kyat each, if they did not want to do the work. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 10 August 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 434, under LID 66, came to Htee-ber-kha-hta village and extorted from villager Saw Pa Taw, 1 flash light and a set of dry cell batteries and from villagers Saw Pa Pleh, 10,000 kyat, 1 belt and 5 chickens. Moreover, these troops detained the village head in a cell for 3 days and demanded 40,000 kyat for his release. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 29 August 2003, Burma Army LIB 6 Second Battalion Commander Aung Kyaw entered Bler Per village, Butho Township and demanded 6 tin of rice from the villagers. (Source: KORD, 2003)
Situation in Thaton District
On 18 February 2003, Operation commander Aung Mya Soe of SPDC LID 44, demanded 35 tons of 15-foot-long logs and 44 sawn planks from Ta-maw-daw and Nyung-ka-toe village, Tha-ton Township, and ordered the villagers to send them to Pa-new-kla. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 21 February 2003, for the purpose building bridges on the road between Pa-new-kla and Lay-kay villages, Operation Commander Aung Mya Soe, Battalion Commander Myint Aung and Battalion Second-in-Command Ko Ko Naing of SPDC LIB 44, demanded from Win-yin village, Tha-ton Township, 15 15-foot-long logs, 4 6”x3” inches timber planks and 8 7”x5” inches timber planks; from Kaw-kya-theh village 15 15-foot-long logs, 40 1”x4” inches timber planks, 40 6”x3” inches timber planks, and 8 7”x5” inches timber planks; and from Noe-pa-leh village 10 15-foot-long logs, 2 1”x4” inches timber planks, 20 6”x3” timber planks and 2 7”x5” timber planks. The demanded items were to be sent to Pa-new-kla village. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 21 February 2003: U Kya Kway and U Tin Aung of Village Peace and Development Committee, Tha-ton Township, forced 9 Ta-dah-oo villagers to keep watch on the railway line for security and demanded paddy at the rate of 4 baskets of paddy per household, from the entire village of 1,300 households, totalling 5,200 baskets of paddy. (Source: KIC, 2003)
From 2 March 2003 to 31 March 2003, troops from SPDC IB 80, Column 2, under LID 66, led by Bo Aung Htoo ordered Ler-ka-kya, No-noe-wah, Ee-heh-ywa-jee and Ee-heh-ywa-lay, villages in Pa-an Township, each to furnish 4 tons of sawn wood. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 2 March 2003, Company Commander Aung Myo Lwin of SPDC LIB 104 demanded that Mi-chaung-aing, Ma-yan-gon, Ka-law-kher, Ma-ee-san and Htee-nya-paw, villages in Tha-ton Township, each furnish 250 pieces of palm thatch, 250 poles of small bamboo and 5 poles of giant bamboo. The villagers were ordered to send the items to Mo-gaung by 22 March 2003. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 13 March 2003, Bo Zaw Lin Htun of SPDC LIB 9, based at Win-raw camp, in Tha-ton Township demanded from villages of Kaw-sa-theh village, 2 cart loads of fire wood; from Win-raw village, 2 cart loads; from Htee-ter-day village, 1 cart load; from Ta-no village, 1 cart load; from Nya-ta-weh village, 2 cart loads; from Theh-gon village, 1 cart load; and from Htee-nya-paw village, 2 cart loads. On that day Column Commander Maung Maung Khaing of SPDC IB 35 extorted from villages of Naw-ka-toe village, 1 duck; Ta-roi-wah village, 1 chicken; Htee-pu-wah village, 1 chicken; and Ta-roi-khee village, 1 chicken. Moreover, G-2 Bo Aung Zaw Myint, based at Pa-new-kla camp, extorted from Ta-maw-taw village, 1,000 pieces of thatch; Naw-ka-toe village 1,000 pieces of thatch; Ta-roi-wah village 1,000 pieces of thatch; Htee-pu-wah village, 500 pieces of thatch; and Ta-roi-khee village 2,000 pieces of thatch. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 15 March 2003, DKBA troops led by Saw Po Li entered into Noh Ta Ray village and forcibly asked the villagers to pay 20,000 kyat for the price of a pig which they took from Noh Ta Ray village. Village whose were required to pay the cost of pig were Noh Ta Ray, 5,000 kyat; Ler Keh Hgaw, 5,000 kyat; Kwee Ta Kot, 5,000 kyat; and Htee Mae Baw 5,000 kyat. The troops then demanded thatch from these these same four villages, each village had to provide 1,500 pieces of thatch. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 18 March 2003, 2 SPDC bulldozers came up to Pa Ya Raw village, for the purpose of constructing a car road. In order to protect the construction sites securely, they set a lot of security forces along the car road at the places from Maw Lay village, Pa Nwe Kla, Lay Kay, Kyo Wine, Noh K'neh and up to Yo Kla village.
In the early part of March 2003 the SPDC LIB 104 Company Commander Aung Myo Lwin forcibly demanded leaves for roofing and several kinds of bamboo from villages, as stated below:
(1) (Michoungaing) Kwee Tma village, 250 thatches of leaves and different kinds of bamboo, 250 small and 5 big;
(2) Mayangone village, 250 thatches of leaves, 250 small bamboos and 5 big pieces of bamboo;
(3) Kalawkher village, 250 thatches of leaves, 250 small bamboos and 5 big pieces of bamboo;
(4) Maeesa village, 250 thatches of leaves, 250 small bamboos and 5 big pieces of bamboo; and
(5) Htee Nya Paw village, 250 thatches of leaves, 250 small bamboos and 5 big pieces of bamboo.
The dead line for the demanded items to arrive at the military camp at Moe Kaw was 22 March 2003. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 28 March 2003, Column Commander Win Naing Shwe of SPDC LIB 10 extorted 30,000 kyat as tribute money from Ee-su-khee village in Bi-lin Township. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 29 March 2003, Bo Bi from DKBA demanded 1000 pieces of thatch from Kaw-heh and 500 pieces from Htee-ber-khee/Tha-waw-pya villages in Bi-lin Township. Moreover, he demanded 50 villagers from Kaw-heh village and Tha-waw-pya village to construct the army camp at Kaw-heh-hta. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 11 May 2003, combined troops from SPDC LIB 66 led by Battalion Commander Aung Htoo, and troops from DKBA 333, led by Lay-kay camp commander, Tee Pu, gathered villagers of Lay-kay village, Bi-lin Township, and demanded 3 goats and 40 viss of pork from them.
On 18 May 2003, the SPDC LIB 1, Column 3, led by Column Commander Saw Myint Oo entered Kyaw Ke Khee village and forcibly took and confiscated food from the villagers as follows:
(1) Ti Maung Aye, 1 Pyi and 4 small tins of rice;
(2) Ti No No,10 small tins of rice;
(3) Saw K'mot, 10 small tins of rice;
(4) Naw Cho Cho,12 small tins of rice;
(5) Naw Dah Bo, 1 pyi of rice;
(6) Ti Tu Tu, 6 small tins of rice;
(7) Naw K'neh Moe, 6 small tins of rice; and
(8) Maw Aye Nay, some packets of Burmese cake valued at 2,500 kyat. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 1 June 2003, troops from SPDC IB 1, with DKBA troops, came to Noe-au-lar village, Pa-an Township, and demanded 40,000 kyat from villager, Saw Pee Pe, after accusing him of having contact with the KNU. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 4 June 2003, SPDC LIB 108 troops under Column 2 Commander Aung Myint, came to Per-wah-hta village, Bi-lin Township, and extorted 1 hammock from Ma Kyu Yin, and 2 baskets of rice and 1 chicken from Kyaw Lee. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 6 June 2003, combined troops from SPDC LIB 10 and DKBA troops demanded 20 viss of pork from La-saw-hta village, Bi-lin Township. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 8 June 2003, troops from SPDC IB 35, Column 2, led by Khin Maung Zaw extorted 10 viss of pork from Maung Taung Taung and from 10 viss of pork Naw Ma Ni, both villagers of Ta-maw-daw village. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 9 June 2003, troops from SPDC IB 35, Column 2, led by Khin Maung Zaw, demanded 10 viss of pork from villager Tee Kyaw Law Moo of Ta-maw-daw village, Tha-ton Township. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 9 June 2003, troops from an anti-insurgent unit under Maung Hla, came to Po-khee village, Bi-lin Township, and demanded 1 goat from the villagers. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 5 August 2003, DKBA troops led by Pa Lay Htoo, Shwe Tha Li, Soe Moe and Ba Sein demanded 50,000 kyat in tax from each of the following sawmills:
(1) 7 sawmills of Yo-kla village,
(2) 11 sawmills of West Htee-pa-doe-hta village,
(3) 3 sawmills of East Htee-pa-doh-hta village,
(4) 9 sawmills of Ta-eu-khee village,
(5) 10 sawmills of Ta-eu-ni village, and
(6) 2 saw mills of Kyo-waing village. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 16 August 2003, the division commander of SPDC LID 66, based at Lay-kay village, demanded money from the following villages for the purpose of building a high school in Lay-kay village:
(1) Hat-ta-rai village, 50,000 kyat;
(2) Pwa-gaw village, 50,000 kyat;
(3) Ta-thoo-khee village, 50,000 kyat;
(4) Kru-see village, 50,000 kyat;
(5) Noe-ka-day village, 50,000 kyat; and
(6) Mae-theh village, 50,000 kyat. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 14 December 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 102 based at Kwee-lay-tha-waw-pya, led by Battalion Commander Ko Ko Hla, came to Nya-po-khee village, Bi-lin Township, and extorted money from 5 sawmill owners at the rate of 2,000 kyat per sawmill, making a total of 10,000 kyat. They also demanded 2 chickens. (Source: KIC, 2003)
Situation in Dooplaya District
On 13 September 2003, troops from Burma Army IB 284, led by Commander Bo Myint Htay, set up their battalion camp in Kya Ka Choung village and confiscated 2 plots of fruit tree garden of 2 villagers and pay nothing for that. The two villagers that they confiscated land from were U Aung Tin (age 60) and U Htun Tin (age 57). After confiscating land of the Kya Ka Choung villagers, the troops forced the Kya Ka Choung villagers to cut 560 wood posts and 1000 nos of bamboo to construct the camp. They also forced Tu Le Gone villagers to cut 400 nos of bamboo. During the construction period, 10 villagers from Tu Le Gone and 24 villagers from Kya Ka Choung village were forced to contribute labor everyday. (Source: KORD, 2003)
Situation in Pa-an District
During March 2003, SPDC LIB 547, LIB 548 and LIB 549, under Local Military Operation Command 12, based at Lay-kaw-hti, confiscated 200 acres of land of villages nearby and made them into army farmland. To cultivate paddy on this land, the army demanded tractors from the villagers and also demanded 5 baskets of paddy seeds from each village, without paying the cost. The villagers had to bring their own food supplies to the work of cultivating the land for the army. (Source: KIC, 2003)
5.7 Situation in Mon State
Despite crop destruction due to heavy flooding in 2002, government officials did not alter or reduce the rice procurement quota for Mon State. As a result, the rice supply within the state was diminished, causing the price of rice and other goods to rise. The Human Rights Foundation of Monland reported that farmers are often forced to sell their rice to the authorities for 8 to 10 times less than the actual market price. In some areas, local officials forced farmers to sign contracts indicating their commitment to selling the full rice quota to the authorities. Moreover, extortion and looting of villagers’ property continued to be reported throughout the year. Looting by members of the military occurred most frequently in conflict zones or areas that were suspected of supporting ethnic opposition groups.
While the SPDC announced the end of the rice procurement policy in April 2003, the Human Rights Forum of Monland reported that the Myanmar Agriculture Products Trading (MAPT) department was using the Township and village level Chambers of Commerce to purchase the rice from the farmers instead. The Chambers of Commerce were reportedly organized by the SPDC authorities and instructed to purchase rice from farmers at a set low price and not at the market price. In addition, they were instructed to purchase rice according the number of acres of land a farmer owned. The Chambers of Commerce would purchase the paddy from farmers at the rate of 170,000 kyat for 100 baskets while the market price was 300,000 kyat for 100 baskets. (Source: The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 11/2003, 30 November 2003)
Unfair Levies and Taxes
On 2 January 2003, the Burma Army and township authorities forced villagers from Anin and Htin-yu villages in Thanbyuzayat Township to provide 280 tons of lumber to construct a new base for Artillery Battalion No.315. After receiving the order from the headman, Anin and Htin-yu villagers cut down trees in their villages and in the forests in order to meet the new battalion’s demand of 280 tons.
"We had to cut down our own trees in our villages. If not, we would not have been able to fulfill the requirement. We also had to buy 260,000 kyat per ton from another area," said a villager.
According to the Anin and Htin-yu villagers, they have never received an order like this before. This was the first time they had to give such a large amount of lumber to the Burma Army and the local authorities. They did not know why they needed to provide such a large amount of lumber. (Source: The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 1/2003, 31 January 2003)
In August 2003, the Burma Army reportedly sent hundreds of commando troops to Kyaikmayaw Township, Mon State. They created bases in many Mon villages in the township and asked the village headman to provide their food costs each day. As most village headmen were afraid of being mistreated by the soldiers, they paid the requested amounts of money. In Kaw-panaw village, about 20 commando troops led by Sergeant Htet Naing asked 2500 kyat per day for food. The headman was forced to collect money everyday. The soldiers also stole livestock from the villagers. They also gathered vegetables from the villagers’ gardens without asking permission. (Source: “Lawlessness in Rural Areas in Southern Burma," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 11/2003, 30 November 2003)
On 3 August 2003, it was reported that Zin Kyeit village and other villages in Mon State, Paung Township had to pay 18 million kyat to the military government to build a school in the area. The military said they needed to pay another 20 million kyat for other expenses. They collected the money for the other expenses from the students in that area. They also collected money from people who have shops and work. They collected 1,000 to 5,000 kyat from people who had money and they forced people who were poor to pay at least 1,000 kyat. (Source: HRDU, 2003)
On 20 September 2003, it was reported that the Moulmein City Development Committee decided in their meeting to check around the city and have the people rebuild their houses if the committee found the houses to be inappropriate for the town. The Committee sent a direction letter to each Ya Ya Ka (Village Peace and Development Council) office to take action on their decision. The letter stated that if a house did not have 2 floors with a roof or iron sheeting, it must be rebuilt. The residents were ordered to rebuild their houses within 6 months. There are some people who can rebuild their houses but there are some people who cannot because they do not have any money. Many people believed that the authorities would force people to move out if they were not able to rebuild their houses in the given time. (Source: HRDU, 2003)
In October 2003, a villager reported that villagers in the southern part of Ye Township, Mon State were forced to pay 2,000-3,000 kyat to cover porters' costs, soldiers’ food, road maintenance, and construction fees. While LIB 99, the local battalion, reported that they would not collect porters, they levied 500 kyat in taxes from each household. The village headmen collect money each month and sometime, they take villagers to do work on the army base without pay. The village headmen always say that the money they collect is to fix the road or a bridge, but the villagers never saw any construction result from their funds. In addition, every time the Burmese soldiers came into the village, they always asked the headmen to provide them with chicken, pork, cooking, oil, onions, beer, liquor, and cigarettes. After the soldiers leave, the headmen always collect money from the villagers to pay for the cost of the soldiers’ food. Each time, each household has to pay 200 to 500 kyat. If the soldiers come 2 times each week, the villagers still have to pay for all of their food. (Source: “Human Rights Violation, Militarization and Labor Migration from Southern Burma," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 10/2003, 31 October 2003)
In November 2003, when Kyaikmayaw Township authorities arranged for a military training school for the ‘Swan-ar-shin’, Government supporters, they ordered the villagers from various villages to collect money for the training. The township authorities ordered the village headmen from Kaw-done, Kaw-panor, and Wae-pa-ngae, to collect 1000,000 kyat and provide for the training schools. However, those 3 villages comprised 700 households and the village headman collected 1000 kyat per household. Therefore, the village headmen personally gained about 600,000 kyat though it was suggested that they may have shared it with the township authorities to maintain their positions. (Source: “Lawlessness in Rural Areas in Southern Burma," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 11/2003, 30 November 2003)
In November 2003, it was reported that the authorities in Kaw-dot village collected more money and rice than necessary from the villagers. In the village, there were about 17 village militiamen and the villagers had to provide them with 100 baskets of rice per year aside from their salaries. In Kaw-dot village, there are approximately 1,500 households and they collect 1.5 to 3 tin of rice per household and therefore receive 3,000 baskets of paddy every year. However, the village headmen were reported to give the militiamen 1,700 baskets while taking 1,300 baskets. In addition, the village headmen were reported to regularly collect money for road construction or to buy a cooperative truck. Yet, the headmen never revealed how they spent the money that was collected. (Source: “Lawlessness in Rural Areas in Southern Burma," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 11/2003, 30 November 2003)
Forced Sale of Crops
From January to March 2003, the Kyaikmayaw Township’s Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) started calling weekly meetings to discuss their activities in the Township and to decide to force the villager farmers to sell their set amount of paddy as quickly as possible to the local buying centers. They also planned to arrest the rice farmers who failed to sell their required amount of rice. In the last week of February, members of the USDA in Kyaikmayaw Township arrested some farmers from Kha-noung, Noung-lone, Pain-ne-gone, and Bein-byaw villages for failing to sell their set amount of rice to the local buying centers. The USDA is reported to use a method of exchanging paddy and farmers. More specifically, the USDA will release the farmers when their family members are able to sell the full required amount of rice. (Source: “The Plight of Farmers in Mon State," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No.7/2003, 31 July 2003)
On 26 February 2003, it was reported that the military government rice-tax collector in Bee Lin Township, Mon State would start problems with people who had to pay the rice tax for the military government. U Myint Thein fought with the rice tax collector when he paid the rice tax. The local immigration police came and said, "The rice tax collector is crazy so we will take you to Bee Lin Township hospital." Then, U Myint Thein's wife and his neighbor came to Bee Lin to find him and find out about the incident. They didn't see him in Bee Lin hospital and the local people in Bee Lin told them the immigration police took him with hand cuffs to Kyeit Hto. They followed him to Kyeit Hto to find out about the incident and what they could do for him. They found him in Kyeit Hto but they lost him and didn't see him again. He disappeared and even now after this they didn't know where he was. That wasn't the only village that had problems like that. Other villages' villagers had already had problems with the rice tax collector many times before. Many villagers didn't pay rice tax until now because the weather ruined their rice plants. If people paid the collector with wet rice, he would increase the price of the tax. He said, "your rice is wet and if you sell it to other people you will not get a price equal to your rice value." Then, people who couldn't pay rice tax were asked to pay money instead of rice. Some people had to sell their livestock to pay for their rice tax. (Source: HRDU, 2003)
In March 2003, it was reported that Nai La (age 78), and his wife, had farmed 14 acres in Kyeikmayaw Township for over 38 years. In all that time, they gave paddy to the State as required by the law. In 2003, the quota was set at 168 baskets. Because floods had destroyed his crop, Nai La was only able to produce 20 baskets, which he gave to the local headman and then explained why he could give no more. The headman then fined Nai La 560,000 kyat. Nai La refused to accept this fine and said that he could only give the value of 100 baskets of paddy, which should be 250,000 kyat. The headman refused his proposal. Nai La then set about getting cash to buy the paddy he owed for the quota. He requested that Nai Kyan Kyit, the local headman, give him more time to get the cash. On 4 March, the militiamen under the headman arrested Nai La for failing to meet the paddy quota. They detained him at Tarana police station in Keikmayaw Township for three nights. They then transferred him to Nyaung-pin-seik Police Station on 7 March. On the night of 7 March, Deputy Sub-inspector Maung Toe (#La-120798) handcuffed and beat Nai La in his cell until he lost consciousness. On 8 March, Nai La was sent to Kyeikmayaw Hospital in critical condition. (Source: “The Plight of Farmers in Mon State," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No.7/2003, 31 July 2003)
On 30 March 2003, the authorities told Nai Kut, a Mon farmer in Chaung Zone Township, to fulfill his requirements of selling rice to the paddy-buying center. He was obligated to sell the Government approximately 157 baskets of paddy. Nai Kut had 10.5 acres of paddy and had to sell at the rate of 15 baskets per acre. During the year, Nai Kut had hired 1 laborer to help him with his farming and therefore owed money to the laborer. In addition, he paid 400,000 kyat for his small paddy plants. This season, he was only able to produce 550 baskets. After paying all of his costs, only 100 baskets remain for his family of 5, leaving him in a difficult situation to provide for his family needs. (Source: “The Plight of Farmers in Mon State," The Mon Forum, Issue No. 7/2003, 31 July 2003)
In October 2003, the Burma Army promised the pay compensation for the landowners from whom they had confiscated land. Compensation would be based upon counting the total numbers of fruit and rubber trees on the confiscated land. Yet, in November, the army reduced the compensation indicating that they would only pay 4,000 kyat per acre. Before the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur went to Burma, the local battalions of the Burma Army called a meeting with the local landowners who had lost their land in the confiscation. In the meeting, they discussed compensation. The authorities promised to compensate the landowners with money according to the number of trees. In addition, the Burmese Army committed to pay 250 kyat per tree. Yet, they changed to only 4,000 kyat per acre in November. If the Army were to pay the 250 kyat per tree, the landowners would receive more money. In 1 acre of land, there are about 500 rubber trees, which would amount to 125,000 kyat for 1 acre as opposed to 4,000 kyat. (Source: The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 11/2003, 30 November 2003)
In March 2003, the village headmen from Kwan-hlar village in Mudon Township established gambling dens near the village and collected money from them. The village headmen allowed the gambling to go on for several days, so they were able to collect a good amount of money. The nearest army commander from IB 31 heard about this. On 26 March, troops from IB 31, led by Sergeat Myint Swe, came and robbed the gamblers. They took about 80,000 kyat from the gambling dens, according to the villagers, but they did not arrest the people. The just came and took money because the local village headmen had not given them a cut of the money. (Source: “Lawlessness in Rural Areas in Southern Burma," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 11/2003, 30 November 2003)
On 25 July 2003, troops from LIB 433 led by Captain Ye Lin went into Kwethalin village and looted property worth approximately 700,000 kyat. The troops arrived in the village at around 8:30 pm and took basic living items as well as other property. Shortly after they arrived, they gathered all of their men into one place and commenced the looting. The village chairman complained about the looting in the village, but the Commander Major San Myint Oo never punished his men. (Source: “Lawlessness in Rural Areas in Southern Burma," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 11/2003, 30 November 2003)
In the second week of July 2003, the Burma Army brought and deployed about 10 military battalions including some artillery units and heavy motor vehicles in Mon villages along the motor road between Thanbyuzayat town and Ye town. There are about 30 villages along the route and they deployed 20 to 50 troops in each village. The soldiers said that they were deployed to protect the people from foreign forces. While no foreign forces came, the villages which received troops suffered. The soldiers looted and killed livestock such as ducks, chickens, pigs, and even cattle for their foods even in front of the villagers. The soldiers did not ask the village headmen for permission but just shot and took the livestock. Despite the fact that the villagers complained to the commanders about the looting, the commanders did nothing to punish their men. The soldiers shot livestock in the village and shot cattle, oxen and water buffalo outside of the villages. Aside from the looting, the soldiers restricted the movement of the local villagers. They were not allowed to stay at their farms at nighttime and were only allowed to work between 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. This created difficulty for those farmers who had farms far from the villages as they were unable to work in the limited amount of time they were allowed to go to their farms. (Source: “Lawlessness in Rural Areas in Southern Burma," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 11/2003, 30 November 2003)
On 13 August 2003, it was reported that SPDC military commanders from IB 11, IB 35 and LIB 108 were occupying villagers' property in Thaton district, in Bee Linn Township. The names of the commanders were:
(1) Major Thant Zaw Tun, IB 11;
(2) Captain, Soe Win, IB 11;
(3) Second Major Kin Maung Zaw, IB 35;
(4) Major Aung Kyaw Oo, IB 35;
(5) Major Aung Thein Oo, LIB 108;
(6) Captain Myint Oo, LIB 108;
(7) Captain Thein Zaw, LIB 108;
(8) Captain Khaing Tun, LIB 108;
(9) Major Aung Myint, LIB 108;
(10) Major Myint Lwin, LIB 10;
(11) Major Aung Too, Division 66;
(12) Major Kyaw Swe, IB 24; and
(13) Captain Myint Thein, LIB 108.
As their duties were in Bee Linn Township, they were doing what ever they wanted in the nearby villages. They took many kinds of property from the villagers without payment. The things that they took included rice, cows, ox, pigs, chickens, goats and furniture from the houses. Moreover, they took the villagers' electric saws and lumber. After they finished taking everything, they burnt down the houses. They also shot at the houses. If they didn't find anything that they wanted in a particular home, they just burnt it down. They then arrested the villagers and forced them to be porters and guards for their military camps. They accused some villagers of having a relationship with the KNU and of giving food to the KNU. For these reasons, the commanders arrested many villagers. One villager from Bee Lin Township stated that, "They tied them up and tortured them. They killed them for no reason. In our village and others, men were afraid to stay in the villages and moved to other places. Lately, situations like this happen more and more." (Source: HRDU, 2003)
5.8 Situation in Pegu Division
Note: Both Nyaunglebin District and Taungoo District are areas demarcated by the KNU as Karen territory. Taungoo falls partially in SPDC demarcated Pegu Division and partially in SPDC demarcated Karen State. Taungoo is under the patrol of the 2nd Brigade of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). Nyaunglebin falls in SPDC demarcated Pegu Division and is under the patrol of the 3rd Brigade of the KNLA. The SPDC does not recognize Nyaunglebin or Taungoo as official districts.
Situation in Nyaunglebin District
On 19 January 2003, troops from Burma Army LIB 264, led by Major Kyi Win and DKBA troops led by Officer Eh Kaw Htoo and Than Tun entered and shot at the villagers of Maw Pu, Mon Township, Kler Lwee Htoo district. All 47 houses were burnt, destroying all of the villagers’ belongings, such as cooking utensils, clothes, blankets, mosquito nets, hammocks, rice, paddy, silver coins, cash, domestic animals, and food. More items were also extorted. The total cost of all items destroyed was over 2,000,000 kyat. The troops extorted 6,140 baht, 125,725 kyat, and other materials from a church. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 20 April 2003, at 9:30 am, SPDC LIB 107 troops came to Po-kho-doe village, Kyauk-kyi Township, and burnt down 6 houses. Moreover, they looted the following items from the from Po-kho-doe villagers:
(1) Saw Pleh Htoo, 4 pots, 7 blankets, 7 plates, 3 steel spoons, 5 chickens, 4 machetes, and 1 fishing net;
(2) Saw Pler Hser, 1 pot, 3 machetes, 2 spoons and 2 plates;
(3) Taw Pay Htoo, 2 pots, 3 machetes, 3 fishing nets, 10 chickens, 1 locally made firearm, 2 spoons, 1 casting net and 2 blankets;
(4) Naw Hla Htoo, 2 pots, 2 machetes and 3 chickens;
(5) Naw Lweh Htoo, 2 pots, 2 blankets, 4 machetes, 3 Karen costumes, 3 women sarongs and 3 chickens; and
(6) Saw Ywa Ber Heh, 2 pots, 4 plates, 2 blankets and 3 baskets of seed paddy. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 22 April 2003, at 7:00 am, troops from SPDC LIB 107 came to Htee Moo Hta village, Kyau-kyi Township, and looted the following items from the following villagers:
(1) Pah Kyeh Htoo, 5 baskets of paddy, 4 pots, 1 basket of rice, 30 chickens and 10 plates;
(2) Saw Ta Koo, 5 baskets of paddy, 3 pots, 5 spoons, 30 chickens and 5 plates;
(3) Naw Ku Htoo, 10 baskets of paddy, 2 pots, 10 chickens, 5 plates, 3 spoons and 1 casting net;
(4) Saw Kler Say, 5 baskets of paddy, 4 pots, 7 plates, 10 chickens, 4 machetes, 3 spoons, 5 shirts and 5 men sarongs;
(5) Naw Yay Paw, 5 baskets of paddy, 3 pots, 3 cups, 5 plates, 3 spoons, 13 chickens and 10 viss of salt;
(6) Saw Htoo Tin, 20 baskets of paddy, 4 pots, 5 plates, 4 spoons, and 25 chickens;
(7) Saw Maung Lar Htoo, 5 baskets of paddy, 2 pots 5 plates, 3 spoons and 23 chickens;
(8) Saw Ku Htoo, 20 baskets of paddy, 4 pots, 5 spoons and 40 chickens;
(9) Naw Kyi Haw, 15 baskets of paddy, 4 pots, 6 plates, 5 spoons, 1 basket of rice and 30 chickens; and
(10) Saw Doe Kho, 7 baskets of rice, 27 chickens, 8 pots, 7 spoons and 8 plates.
The troops also looted a total of 47 bamboo trays from the villagers. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 24 April 2003, at 8:40 am, troops from SPDC LIB 107 came to Ber-po-khee village, Kyauk-kyi Township, and burnt down 2 houses and looted 7 pots, 10 plates and a basket of rice. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 17 May 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 109 came to Thaw-nge-doe village, Kyauk-kyi Township, and fired on villagers with both heavy weapons and small arms, and burnt down 2 houses. Moreover, these troops looted 42 pots, 22 blankets, 29 machetes, 29 Karen sarongs, 29 Karen women sarongs, 2 balls of yarn, a pair of shoes, 3,500 kyat, 2 silver chains, 32 chickens, some medicine and 26 spools of sewing thread from the villagers. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 31 May 2003, about 40 troops from SPDC LIB 599, Columns 1 and 2, led by Bo Kyi Win, fired their guns into the market of Kwee-dee-kor village, Mone Township, and destroyed villagers' merchandise of dog fruit, rice, fish paste, salt and confectionery worth a total of 273,000 kyat. Moreover, these troops burnt down the Church of Kwee-dee-kor village. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 21 June 2003, at 4:00 pm, about 20 troops from SPDC LIB 590, led by Bo Kyaw Ze Ya Win, shot at villagers who went outside of the village, wounding villager Ma Myint Thein. These troops looted 900 kyat and 1 umbrella from villager Ko Thein Htun and demanded 100,000 kyat from Myauk Oo village. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 3 August 2003, combined troops from SPDC LIB 599 and LIB 20, with a total of about 130 men, entered and made activities around the village tracts areas of Thet Baw Der, Saw Tay Der and Kheh Po Der, in Mon Township. On 3 August 2003, the troops also entered the old village area of Hkeh Po Der and destroyed 1 paddy farm that grew 2 tin of paddy seed belonging to Kheh Po Der villager Saw Leh Kot and 1 betel nut fruit garden belonging to Saw Belly. (Source: KORD, 2003)
Situation in Taungoo district
On 2 February 2003, troops from the SPDC guerrilla unit based in Baw-ga-li and Per-kaw-doe areas of Than-daung Township looted the following item from the following villagers:
(1) 60,000 kyat and 1 cassette tape player from Ku-plaw-doe villager Saw La Bee;
(2) 1 wrist watch and 1 air rifle from Baw-ga-li villager Saw Po Nge;
(3) 1 air rifle from Baw-ga-li villager Saw Way Lay; and
(4) 1,000 kyat from Der-doe villager Saw Htoo Doe. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 18 March 2003, troops from an SPDC guerrilla unit led by Kyaw Zaw Han stole a duck from Kaw-thay-doe villager, Maung Taw and demanded 5 tin of rice from Saw Nor Kweh, and 5 tin of rice and some household items from Naw Ma Mar. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 3 June 2003, troops from SPDC IB 24, based at Wah-soe, looted from villager, Saw Maung Po of Sho-ser village, Tan-da-bin Township, 1 tin of rice, 1 pot, 1 stove and 1 bottle of groundnut oil. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 22 June 2003, Corporal Pauk Pauk of SPDC IB 39 punched villagers Saw Po Si, Saw Ham Kray, Saw Htun Khaing, Saw Htun Lin and Saw Nay Moo of Baw-ga-li village, Than-daung Township without reason. Moreover, he looted 100,000 kyat and some blankets from the house of Saw Htun Khaing. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 23 June 2003, at 11:00 pm, Corporal Pauk Pauk of SPDC IB 39, came to the house of Naw Su Pri and Saw Ta Heh Wah, brother and sister, in Baw-ga-li village, Than-daung Township and ordered and threatened them with his gun to cook chicken for him. As they had no chicken to cook, he instead took a ring and 1,000 kyat. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 8 July 2003, troops from SPDC IB 92, based at Kaw-thay-doe army camp, led by Sergeant Major Htun Wai, came to the shops of Ka-thwee-dee village, Than-daung Township, and looted the following merchandise and money from the shop owners:
(1) Saw Maung Htun, Male, age 45, merchandise worth 70,000 kyat;
(2) Naw Mee Mi, Female, age 30, 150,000 kyat worth merchandise and 50,000 kyat;
(3) Saw Ka Thay, Male, age 60, 120,000 kyat worth merchandise; and
(4) Naw Maw Kya, Female, age 35, 90,000 kyat worth merchandise.
These troops also dismantled the shops and beat up the shop owners. In the evening, these troops seized and took Saw Htun Win (male, age 35), chairman of Ka-thwee-dee village and secretary Saw Ohn Zan (male, age 30), and ordered the villagers to pay a ransom of 150,000 kyat for their release. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 28 July 2003, troops from SPDC IB 92, led by Bo Khin Maung Gyi, came to Wah-tho-kho village, Tantabin Township and extorted 3 tin of rice and 2 viss of chicken from the villagers. Moreover, Corporal Htay Aung from this battalion extorted 5,000 kyat from the village head and stole 2 chickens from villager Saw Aye Kay, on that night. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 31 July 2003, troops from an SPDC guerrilla unit led by Sergeant Khin Soe came to Wah-tho-kho village Tan-ta-bin Township and extorted 3 viss of chicken worth 6,000 kyat from the villagers.
Unfair Taxes and Levies
Situation in Nyaunglebin District
On 13 March 2003, about 30 troops of SPDC guerrilla unit, led by Wait Za, came to Mar-lar-daw village and extorted the following from villagers:
(1) 14,000 kyat from village head U Aye,
(2) 1,000 kyat from Naw Teh Leh Keh,
(3) 1,500 kyat from Than Maung, and
(4) 500 kyat from Saya Htee Htee.
Moreover, these troops stole chickens from the villagers. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 16 March 2003, 30 guerrilla troops led by Wi Zar entered Ma La Daw and extorted 1,000 kyat from U Aung Mya’s worker (who was responsible for taking care of elephants). (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 23 March 2003, the SPDC operation commander in Kyauk-kyi demanded 150,000 kyat from each ward of Kyauk-kyi town to construct his army camp. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 17 July 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 590 ordered villages in "Ten Village Group," Mon Township, to buy them 3 piglets for the army husbandry farming. The troops instructed the villagers to pay 8,000 kyat per piglet if they could not find piglets to buy. (Source: KIC, 2003)
Situation in Taungoo District
On 5 January 2003, troops from SPDC IB 48, led by Major Maung Maung, demanded betel nuts worth 15,000 kyat from Kaw-soe-kho village, Tan-da-bin Township. These troops took 4 female villagers from Kaw-soe-kho village. They were: Naw Juu Ju, Naw Yah Ya, Naw Nay Nay and Naw Mah Ma. On January 7, troops from SPDC IB 92, took these female villagers again and released them on January 10, 2003. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 14 January 2003, troops from SPDC IB 264, led by Column Commander Thant Zin and Camp Commander Kyaw Hein San Oo, based in Klaw-mee-doe village, Tan-da-bin Township, demanded 150 bamboo poles and 2 viss of chicken from 4 villages in Klaw-mee-deh area; which were Klaw-mee-doe, Hu-mu-doe, Ler-kla-doe and Hkeh-doe. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 26 January 2003, Commander Khin Maung Oo of SPDC Military Operation Command 3, Southern Command Headquarters, commandeered 10 villagers' trucks of Baw-ga-li and Kaw-thay-doe villages and used them 3 times to transport military rations to Ka-law-soe army camp. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 2 February 2003, SPDC IB 73 Intelligence Officer Than Nyein Aung, demanded 3 sacks of rice from Sha-zee-po village, 1 sack from Ye-shan village, 1 sack from Zee-pyu-gone village, and 1 sack from Taw-gon village in Tan-da-bin Township. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 2 February 2003, troops from an SPDC guerrilla retaliation unit in Kler Lar - Per Kaw Der area extorted the following belongings from the people:
(1) 1 watch and 1 air gun belonging to Saw Po Nge;
(2) 1 watch belonging to Saw Po Nyo;
(3) 1 air gun belonging to Saw Way Lay from Kler Lar;
(4) 1 cassette and 60,000 kyat belonging to Saw Lar Dee from Khu Plaw Der; and
(5) 10,000 kyat belonging to Saw Htoo Doh from Der Doh, Htaw Ta Htoo. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 15 February 2003, troops from SPDC IB 264, led by Tin Maung Swe, extorted 200 kyat per sack of rice and 50 kyat per person as tax from villagers in Klaw-mee-doe area who went to buy rice at Pet-let-wa. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 19 March 2003, the SPDC checkpoint security unit extorted items worth 50,000 kyat from a truck of Kaw-thay-doe villager, Naw Noe No, while it was on its way returning from Toungoo to Kaw-thay-doe.
On 19 March 2003, troops from SPDC IB 264 led by Lt. Thant Zin from Klaw Mee Der, forced Klaw Mee Der villagers, who had bullock carts, to carry food from Pat Lat Wah to Klaw Mee Der. He then demanded 5 sacks of rice from them, 2 sacks from Klaw Mee Der, 1 sack from Hu Mu Der, 1 sack from Ler Klar Der and 1 sack from Keh Der villages. The price of rice was 9000 kyat per sack.
From December 2002 until 17 March 2003, troops from SPDC IB 75 Company No.4, led by Bo Sein Tha, based in Kaw Thay Der, demanded car owners from Kaw Thay Der village who drove their cars from Taw Oo to Kaw Thay Der village to pay money. Car owner Naw No Noh Say had to pay 20,000 kyat; Naw Ma Ma, 20,000 kyat; Naw Ah Ray, 16,000 kyat; and Naw Dalia, 14,000 kyat. Military Officer Sein Tha from Kaw Thay Der camp demanded alcohol and others food from car owners, shop owners and the village headman whenever he came into Kaw Thay Der village. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 16 March 2003, Bo Sein Tha of IB 75 demanded 30,000 kyat from Kaw Thay Der villagers in Tan Ta Bin Township. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 27 July 2003, troops from SPDC IB 73 led by Bo Win Kyaw Kyaw extorted 3 baskets of rice from Sha-zee-bo villagers in Tan-ta-bin Township. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 28 July 2003, troops from Burma Army IB 92 headed by officer Maung Maung Gyi entered Wa Tho Kho village and demanded 3 tin of rice and 2 viss of chicken. Again Sergeant Thain Aung extorted 5,000 kyat for the cost of 2 viss of chicken. As he was afraid of the troops, the village head gave them what they asked for. The troops spent the night in the village and stole 2 chickens from villager Saw Au Kay. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 31 July 2003, a group of Burma Army guerillas led by Sergeant Khin Soe extorted 3 viss of chicken from Wa Tho Kho village, Taw Ta Htoo Township. (Source: KORD)
On 4 August 2003, Battalion Commander, Nyi Nyi Thein Dan of SPDC IB 75 ordered villages in Kher-weh area each to send 300 poles of bamboo and 3 hoes.(Source: KIC, 2003)
On 16 August 2003, Officer U Nyant Win, from Police Officer U Tin Win's company, based at Doe-thaung police station, Tan-da-bin Township in Pegu Division, demanded 200 kyat from each house in Chaung-wa village tract for the training program of non-commissioned police officers. Moreover, they demanded villagers to attend militia training from Karen villages in that area as follows:
(1) Lay-ti village, 20 persons;
(2) Mar-lar-gon village 8 persons;
(3) Thit-cha-seik village, 4 persons;
(4) Ywa-dan-shay village, 5 persons;
(5) Htone-bo village, 2 persons;
(6) Nat-ka -mauk village, 2 persons; and
(7) Ka-yin-ni-gon village, 2 persons. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 25 August 2003, troops from SPDC IB 73, led by Bo Kyaw Moe Htun, demanded 200 kyat to pay for a pass for the villagers who went out and kept watch on their hill paddy fields and plantations in Klaw-me-doe village, Tan-da-bin Township.(Source: KIC, 2003)
On 10 September 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 20, based at Ka-ser-doe camp led by Bo Hlaing Kyaw Myint, came to Sha-zee-bo village in Tan-da-bin Township. At Sha-zee-bo, they extorted 6 packets of noodle, 1.5 viss of garlic and onion, 1 viss of chicken, 10 duck eggs, 10 packets of coffee creamer, 3 bottles of kerosene, 3 packets of candle, 200 rolls of cigars, 3 packets of cigarettes, 2 packets of snack and 15 pyi of rice from the villagers. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 11 September 2003, troops from SPDC IB 73 based at Hton-bo and led by Bo Tin Lwin Oo, extorted 15,000 kyat from villagers Saw Bo Hla, Saw John, Saw Ah Pu and Saw Maung Ohn Tha of Htone-bo village, Tan-ta-bin Township.
On 5 October 2003, a group soldiers from Burma Army LIB 20 led by Officer Tay Win, based in K'ser Doh, extorted 8,295 kyat from Sha See Bo village, Taw Ta Htoo Township. (Source: KORD, 2003)
On 4 November 2003, LIB 20, Column 2, Officer Htay Win and Hlaing Kyaw Myint entered Hoo Mu Der area, Taw Ta Htoo Township and threatened the villagers of Zee Pyu Gone and Taw Ku villages to give 300,000 kyat to the troops. These 2 villages paid 150,000 kyat each to the troops. (Source: KORD, 2003)
5.9 Situation in Shan State
In 2003, residents of Shan State faced ongoing challenges in maintaining their livelihood as Burma Army soldiers continually looted livestock and other items from the homes of Shan villagers. Looting of livestock not only deprived villagers of sources of nutrition but also sources of additional income for the family or even labor for their farms, as buffalo are often used for cultivation purposes. As in other areas of Burma, villagers in Shan State faced demands for unfair taxes and extortion by officials and Burma Army personnel. (Source: SHRF, 2003)
In many areas, paddy procurement quotas for 2003 were reported to have exceeded the 2002 quotas. Some farmers fled from their farms to avoid the consequences of being unable to meet the rice quota. Those who were unable to meet the quota risked having their land confiscated, or in some cases, facing arrest and torture. In March, the SPDC authorities in Murng Laen village tract were reported to have ordered farmers to stop trading and milling rice until the paddy purchase quota was met. In February and March, soldiers searched the homes and graneries of farmers who were unable to meet the quotas. The soldiers reportedly confiscated seeds put aside for the next season’s crops as well as the families’ daily rice supply, leaving many families with only enough rice for a few days. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2003)
In 2003, the SPDC also ordered all farmers in Shan States to grow a foreign strain of rice, DU 527, instead of the local strain. Those who failed to comply faced possible confiscation of their lands. In order to cultivate the foreign strain of rice, farmers were forced to purchase the seed at 11,000 kyat per basket. The growth of the crop necessitated the purchase of fertilizer as well. The government purchase price for the rice grown was 400 kyat per basket. Those who were unable to meet the rice quota were required to pay 3,000 kyat per basket. (Source: Reclaiming the Right to Rice, BBC, October 2003)
Movement restricted as more land confiscated in Murng-Nai
Since the beginning of 2003, 5 new Burmese military battalions have been confiscating more and more land in the Kaeng Tawng area of Murng-Nai Township. As a result, it has become more and more difficult for the local people to find land for cultivation and gather firewood from the forests. In January 2003, the SPDC military authorities in Kaeng Tawng area summoned all the village and village tract headmen to a meeting at the military base at Ton Hung village. The military authorities told them that all 5 military battalion bases in the area would expand to cover more land adjacent to them. The military base at Ton Hung village would expand 1-1/2 miles to the south and the base at Ta Kun village would be expanded 2 miles to the east and south. The base at Pa Saa village would expand 3 miles to the east and the base at Waeng Kao village 5 miles to the west. The base at Kun Mong would be expanded 3 miles to the north.
Even though the military bases had not yet been actually expanded, all the land mentioned had been designated as military property, and an order was issued to the headmen to tell their respective villagers not to farm or cut wood or gather firewood, etc., on the land. Since then many local people were no longer able to cultivate land close to their villages or to gather firewood in nearby forests. Instead, they have to go to distant places to farm and/or gather firewood. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, July 3003)
Confiscated land sold by Burmese army
Local sources reported that the local SPDC authorities confiscated 10 acres of land belonging to four Palaung farmers to construct a new village in Man Yong. On 26 March 2003, Mang Tong Land Department offered 200 sq. ft. areas and sold them to civilians at the cost of 150,000 kyat per household as part of a new town project set up by the Burmese junta. Farmers whose lands were occupied by the military also had to pay for a piece of land and the money was shared among the local commander of IB 130, Land Department officials and USDA members. Since their land was taken by force, farmers who depend on farming have lost their jobs and are facing difficulty. (Source: PYNG, 2003)
Land confiscation and forced labor in Murng-Pan
In June 2003, SPDC troops of LIB 332 forced the villagers of Ho Phaai Long village in Ho Phaai Long village tract, Murng-Pan Township, to cultivate rice paddy for them in rice fields which had been confiscated from local farmers, altogether big enough to cultivate 16 baskets of rice seeds. The rice fields, known locally as Naa Nawng Keng, originally belonged to the villagers of Huay Maak Phurng village. SPDC soldiers confiscated the land 4 years ago on the accusation that the owners had fled to Thailand. Since then, villagers of Ho Phaai Long have been forced to cultivate the land for the SPDC troops every year.
Also, in June 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 332 further confiscated more rice fields adjacent to the already confiscated land and forced the villagers of Ho Phaai Long to cultivate rice for them. The rice fields belonged to Lung Nyo and Wan-Na from Huay Maak Phurng village, who had moved to live in Ho Phaai Long village earlier in the year. Lung Nyo and Wan-Na did not know until they went to cultivate their rice fields in June 2003 that their land had been confiscated on the grounds that they had fled to Thailand. When they tried to cultivate the land, Lung Nyo and Wan-Na were stopped and told by the soldiers that the land had been confiscated and had become military property because the original owners had fled to Thailand. According to them, Lung Nyo’s rice field was big enough to cultivate 5 baskets of rice seeds, and Wan-Na’s rice field was big enough to cultivate 3 baskets of rice seeds. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, September 2003)
Paddy fields inundated without notice
On 18 November 2003, it was reported that more than a hundred acres of paddy fields in Lashio, Shan State's northern capital, went underwater without warning after outflowing water from a dam was diverted for the exploration of a coal mine along its previous channel. Most of the affected farmers are from the 3 villages of Hsonloi, Khurhkham and Kawngkha. Approximately 150 acres of newly harvested paddy was affected by the man-made flood that took place on 5 November, near the AT Bridge, north of Lashio. "Before, we were forced to sell most of our produce to the Army," stated a woman from Hsonloi village. "Now we don't even have any rice to eat." Locals blamed the authorities for not notifying them in advance, "so we could move our piles of reaped paddy plants to safety." Maj Gen Myint Hlaing, Commander of Lashio-based Northeastern Region Command, on whose orders the dam water had been reportedly rerouted, had on 14 November tried to make amends by repaying the victims 18,000 kyat per acre. "That was less than half of what we could get at the market price," said a farmer from the nearby village of Khurhkham. "But the underprivileged like us can't really complain." The incident was the outcome of a plan implemented by Rangoon's official firm, Myanmar Economic Holdings Company, better known as "Oo Paing," to prospect and extract coal deposits in the area, they said. (Source: "Paddy Fields Inundated without Notice," S.H.A.N, 18 November 2003)
Looting by the Army
Destruction of rice granaries of displaces farmers in Kun-Hing
On 11 January 2003, a patrol of SPDC troops from IB 246 burnt and destroyed the rice granaries of displaced farmers at remote farms near Tai Naai village (relocated) in Kun Pu village tract, Kun-Hing Township. Lung Zin-Ta (male, age 53), and some fellow villagers, originally from Tai Naai village in Kun Pu tract, which had been forcibly relocated to the outskirts of Kun-Hing town by the Burmese troops some years ago, had been cultivating their original farms at their old village. After harvesting their rice crop, the displaced farmers kept the rice in bamboo granaries at their farms to be used both as rice seeds and for food during the next growing season. As the SPDC troops patrolled the area, they found the granaries and the farmers at the farms. The soldiers accused the farmers of keeping the rice to feed the Shan soldiers and burned all the granaries. They told all the farmers to go back to Kun-Hing relocation site and not to come back because the area would be flooded before long. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, April 2003)
Robbery in Murng-Sart and Kun-Hing
On 1 January 2003, a patrol of SPDC troops from Kaeng-Tung-based IB 245, led by Maj. Aung Win, forcibly took the following property from the villagers of Wan Kun and Wan Long villages in Murng Lung village tract, Murng-Sart Township:
(1) Wan Kun village
monastery, about 1 kg of dried chillies worth 120 kyat;
(2) Naang Non, female, of Wan Long village, about 1 pig worth 2,500 kyat; and
(3) Zaai In, male, of Wan Long village, about 3 ducks and 3 chickens, worth 900 kyat.
On 14 January 2003, a column of about 70 SPDC troops from Kaeng-Tung-based IB245, led by Maj. Aung Win, robbed the villagers of Wan Thurn Long village in Murng Lung village tract, Murng-Sart Township, of the following property:
(1) Paw Zan, male, 1 male
pig worth 2,000 kyat and 1 female pig worth 3,500 kyat;
(2) Paw Zerm, male, 31 chickens;
(3) Paw Zum, male, 2 chickens; and
(4) Paw Ai Kham, male, 3 chickens, 1 dog and 1 cat.
On 19 January 2003, a column of SPDC troops from IB 296 came to Naa Keng village in Kaeng Lom village tract, Kun-Hing Township and forced all the villagers to gather at one place, and then searched all the houses and took away the following property:
(1) Saw-Ya, male, 1 musket,
1 packet of seasoning powder, 1 set of Lao clothes, 1 wrist watch, and 1 pair of
shoes which he was holding
(2) Taw-Na, male, 1/2 bushel of rice, 2 cooking pots, 1 pair of shoes and other food stuff;
(3) Maha Zing, male, 4 pyi of rice, 5 bottles of rice whiskey, 5 viss of pork, 2 packets of seasoning powder, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 packets of salt and 1 knife;
(4) In-Da, male, 1 musket, 1 cat and all other food stuff;
(5) De-Win, male, 2 chickens and 2 pairs of shoes;
(6) Kham Lu, male, 2 pairs of shoes and 1 pair of sock;
(7) Zaai Pan, male, 2 pairs of shoes and 2 bundles of cheroots;
(8) Pan-Ta, male, 1 rice canteen and 2 pairs of shoes;
(9) Naai Phon, female, 2 pairs of shoes and all other food stuff; and
(10) Naai Lam, female, 1 pair of shoes.
On 20 January 2003, a patrol of SPDC troops from IB 296 seized a musket and a knife from Aw-Nan-Ti (male, age 23), and arrested him, at Naa Keng village in Kaeng Lom village tract, Kun-Hing Township. Aw-Nan-Ti was not yet released at the end of January 2003. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2003)
Stealing of livestock in Kae-See
On 23 March 2003, a patrol of troops from SPDC IB 286 shot and stole 10 chickens and a large female pig belonging to the villagers of Paa Khee village in Murng Yaai village tract, Kae-See Township. On that day, a patrol of about 20 soldiers from IB 286, based in Murng Nawng village tract, came and surrounded Paa Khee village. At the same time, some of them came into the village and shot 10 chickens and a pig, causing fear and confusion among the villagers. After taking the chickens they had shot, the troops cut the pig and took the parts that they wanted. Just before leaving the village, they told the villagers not to tell anyone about the event, or they would come back and punish them. According to the villagers, the pig alone was worth at least 50,000 kyat at the market. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, June 2003)
A Palaung villager shot at, his buffalo stolen, villagers forced to carry meat, in Nam-Zarng
On 20 April 2003, a Palaung villager was frightened away with gunshots and his buffalo was stolen and killed, and 5 villagers were forced to carry the meat to a military camp by a patrol of SPDC troops from IB 66, in Kho Lam village tract, Nam-Zarng Township.
Aai Ngern, (male, age 28), was a villager of Phaa Ngaab village. He was working at a farm about 11 miles from Kho Lam village near the motor-road that led from Kho Lam to Kaeng Tawng area in Murng-Nai Township, and was letting his buffalo graze near the farm after using it to plough the earth. As he was tending his buffalo, a patrol of about 25 soldiers from SPDC IB 66 came and when they saw the buffalo, they shot their guns over his head 14-15 times. Aai Ngern was frightened and he ran away as fast as he could, while the soldiers pulled away his buffalo. The soldiers later killed the buffalo and forced 5 villagers from Wan Phui village to carry the buffalo meat back to their camp at Kho Lam. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, June 2003)
Stealing of villagers’ bamboo in Murng-Yawng
On 5-6 April 2003, SPDC troops from LIB 334 forcibly cut and took away bamboo from the bamboo gardens of villagers in Wan Po and Pa Hok village tracts, Murng-Yawng Township, leaving only bamboo stumps in several gardens.
Because the Burmese military were expanding their presence in Murng-Yawng area, a lot of wood and bamboo was needed to build new camps and bases. The troops simply cut and took them from the woodland and gardens of the local people without asking or paying for them. During those 2 days, 2 groups of troops from SPDC LIB 334, each group comprising 30-40 soldiers, went separately to Wan Po and Pa Hok village tracts. The troops forcibly cut and took away all the bamboo from a garden at Pa Mon village and another garden in Yaang Le village in Wan Po village tract.
In Pa Hok village tract, the SPDC troops cleared all the bamboo from 2 gardens in Paang Zaa village and another garden in Nam Tee village. They cut down the whole grove including the young shoots, leaving nothing for the owners who could only sit and look on, unable to say anything. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, June 2003)
SPDC soldiers confiscated wood from cease-fire group
On 28 April 2003, at about 5:30 am, the second commander of SPDC LIB 524, based in Maing Wee Township, Northern Shan State, led his troops about 30 km from their camp. The Commander stopped 2 trucks and ordered his soldiers to open the covers revealing 6 tons of wood. He asked who owned the wood and the driver said the owner was from an unnamed cease-fire group. The Commander then said he didn’t care who the owner was. He ordered the owner to drive the truck to their camp, but the car owner refused. The commander then beat both drivers heavily so that they had no choice but to drive to the camp and unload all the wood. After that, he ordered one of the drivers to go back and find 500,000 kyat within 2 days. He told them that if he did not receive the full amount of money within 2 days he would kill the driver’s friend and their cars. After he received the money he released the trucks and the drivers, but he would still keep the wood. He asked the wood owner to come and see him in order to negotiate with him. The wood owner could not do anything, so the commander kept the wood and later sold it to Nam Kham Township and gave half of the money to his commander, Colonel Thain Maung Win. (Source: PYNG, 2003)
A village boy robbed of his chickens in Murng-Yarng
On 5 May 2003, early in the morning, Zaai Taan (age 13), was given 5 chickens by his parents to go to sell them with other villagers who were going to Murng-Yarng town market. Their village, Wan Kong, was about 6 miles from the town and when they had gone about 3-1/2 miles, they were stopped by a group of soldiers from SPDC LIB 328. The soldiers searched them and all the things that were carrying to sell at the market. The soldiers took some vegetables from each of the other villagers and took 3 chickens from Zaai Taan. Zaai Taan sold his remaining 2 chickens, both hens, for 5,000 kyat at the market. The other 3 chickens, which were all cocks that were stolen by the soldiers, would have fetched him 9,000 kyat, as cocks are valued at about 3,000 kyat each. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, November 2003)
Shelling of displaced villagers and stealing of property in Kun-Hing
On 7 May 2003, a group of villagers were shelled with mortars by a column of combined SPDC troops from IB 246, LIB 524 and LIB 569, at Wo Long village in Ngaa Teng village tract, Kun-Hing Township, and their property was stolen from Wo Long village by the same SPDC troops. Earlier this year, some 20 households originally from Wo Long village, which had been forcibly relocated to Kun-Hing in 1997 by the then SLORC troops, had tried to resettle at their original village, Wo Long. On the day of the incident, at about 10:00 in the morning, the villagers were gathering in Wo Long village to hold a respect-paying ceremony to the guardian spirit in the area. At the same time, the said column of SPDC troops fired 7 mortar shells on them from a distance in the direction of Haai Kur village. The villagers were so frightened that they all ran away in all directions, but fortunately no own was injured. The troops then came into Wo Long village and stole the following property from the following villagers:
(1) Lung Wi-Tae-Ya, male, 2
baht-weight of gold ornaments, 30,000 kyat, 10 chickens and 1 pig;
(2) Lung Khae-Min-Ta, male, 6 chickens and 20,000 kyat of money; and
(3) Lung Mu-Lin, male, 10 chickens, 1 pig and 50,000 kyat of money.
Other villagers also lost one thing or another as the SPDC troops took all they wanted. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, September 2003)
Pig shot, owner threatened, in Murng-Pan
On the morning of 7 May 2003, a pig owner, Pi Ta of Huay Mark Phurng village, let his pig roam outside the village to feed on some green roots and grass when at about 10:00 am he heard gunshots. Suspecting that someone could have shot his pig, he ran out of the village towards the gunshots. Pi Ta saw 3 SPDC soldiers outside the village, of which 2 were dragging something that looked like a carcass of a pig into the nearby forest. When he got near, the soldier that was not dragging turned his rifle towards him and he stopped. The soldier said to Pi Ta, “Why are you running after us? We saw some Shan soldiers running away and we shot at them, and are chasing them now. Or are you also a Shan soldier? If not, go back into the village at once,” aiming his rifle as if to shoot. Pi Ta turned and ran back into the village. In the evening, Pi Ta went out to look for his pig but it was nowhere to be found. Instead, he saw a trail of blood along which it had been dragged and a place in the forest where it was apparently cut into pieces and taken away. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, November 2003)
A student’s motorcycle stolen, money extorted, in Tachileik
In mid 2003, a grade 7 student was robbed of his motorcycle by SPDC troops of LIB 359 and later money was extorted before giving back the motorcycle, in a military base in Tachileik Township. Zaai Kam, a male grade 7 student, parked his motorcycle at the school parking lot while attending sessions as usual. After he was released from school that day, Zaai Kam found that his motorcycle had disappeared from the parking lot and he reported it to his teacher and the head of the school. The next day, Zaai Kam and his parents went to the head of the school and were told that the motorcycle had been found in a military base. During the school midday break, they all went to the military base and reclaimed the motorcycle. They managed to get back the motorcycle, but only after 5,000 baht of money had been extorted from them. They also had to promise not to let the news about this incident leak out to anyone else. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, February 2004)
Livestock shot, villagers forced to cut up pork, money extorted, in Lai-Kha
In the afternoon of 3 June 2003, there were, for the most part, only old people and children in Naa Poi village as the majority of villagers had gone out to work at their farms. A column of over 30 troops from SPDC IB 250, based at Loi-Kaw town in Karenni State, came into Naa Poi village and asked to see the headman. When they learned the headman was not in the village, the commander ordered his troops to shoot some chickens and pigs in the village. As the troops spread out in the village and shot at any chickens and pigs they could find, chaos ensued with the sounds of gunfire, and chickens, pigs and dogs running all over the village. When the noises died down, there were 27 chickens and 2 pigs lying dead in the village. The SPDC troops then ordered the villagers to string up the chickens and cut up the pigs, which took 2-3 hours to finish. As the troops prepared to leave, the village headman returned to the village. The commander of the troops called up the headman and said to him, “Why weren’t you in the village when we came? You should have known we were coming and been prepared. We need some more food to continue our long journey, and because you were not available we had to shoot all these ourselves. You need to help pay for the cost of the bullets used here, so collect 50,000 kyat and make it ready for us to pick up on our way back.” (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, November 2003)
Displaced villagers robbed of their pigs in Murng-Kerng
On 4 June 2003, a patrol of about 40 troops from SPDC LIB 514 came and saw a pig sty belonging to displaced villagers outside the Murng-Kerng town relocation site in Murng-Kerng Township. Because no one was there at the time, the soldiers claimed that the sty belonged to Shan soldiers who had run away when they saw the troops coming. As a result, the soldiers seized all 15 pigs that were in the sty. Some of the soldiers conscripted a mini tractor in the town and carried all the pigs to their base.
One of the pigs’ owners, Lung Kham Ai, had gone home temporarily and returned to his pigsty just in time to see the tractor leaving with pigs on it from a distance. When he came closer, he could see that there were no pigs left in the sty. He went straight back home and told his relatives about it. His niece, Naang Thuay, who owned 5 of the 15 pigs, was shocked and cried until she fainted and a traditional doctor was called in to treat her. Although they later tried, they could not get back any of their pigs. The pigs’ owners, Lung Kham Ai and his niece, Naang Thuay, were originally from Loi Saang village in Yaang Loi village tract, Murng-Kerng Township, which had been forcibly relocated to the outskirts of Murng-Kerng town in 1997 by the then SLORC troops. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, November 2003)
A villager’s bull shot for meat in Murng-Paeng
On 21 June 2003, Kan-Tha-Wong (male, age 46), of Maak Kaa village, let his 3 cattle graze in a meadow outside his village and in the afternoon only 2 of them returned home. So he went out to the meadow in the evening to find it. On the way, Kan-Tha-Wong met a group of SPDC troops from LIB 360 carrying a lot of meat and 4 cow legs on shoulder poles coming from the direction of the meadow. As he reached the meadow, he saw a newly cut piece of cow hide and a cow head which he recognized as belonging to his missing bull ox. He carried the head of his bull ox back to his village and reported the incident to the village headman. The next day, he and some village leaders brought the head of the bull to the SPDC township office in Murng-Paeng town and lodged a complaint with the authorities. Although the authorities listened to their case and said they would make a careful investigation and take necessary steps, no action had yet been taken as of mid-August 2003, when this report was received. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, November 2003)
A displaced farmer robbed of his oxen in Lai-Kha
On 26 June 2003, Lung Lu took his draught oxen outside the village to graze when they were not working as he usually did. While Lung Lu was grazing his oxen as usual, a group of 5 soldiers from SPDC IB 64, led by Commander Hla Aung, came and pointed their guns at him. They then forcibly dragged the oxen away towards their military base. When Lung Lu and some village leaders went to complain, the commander of IB 64 said none of his troops had left the military base on the day in question. The commander accused the villagers of trying to defame the Burmese military, and ordered the cow owner to pay 1,500 kyat as a fine. The owner, Lung Lu, (male, age 54), was originally from Nam Tawng village in Wan Lur village tract, Lai-Kha Township, which had been forcibly relocated to Phuay Hai village in 1997 by the then SLORC troops. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, November 2003)
Displaced farmers arrested, money extorted, their farm hut looted and burnt in Lai-kha
On 20 July 2003, displaced farmers and their children were arrested and their farm hut looted and burnt by a patrol of SPDC troops from IB 64 at a remote farm near a relocated village, Kawng Wet, in Paang Saang village tract, Lai-Kha Township. Later, money was extorted for their release.
These farmers were originally from Kawng Wet village, which had been forcibly relocated by the Burmese troops some years ago, and they had temporarily come back to cultivate rice near it when the incident took place. The farmers and their children staying at their temporary farm hut were:
(1) Zaai Zaw-Ta, male, age
(2) Zaai Naw, male, age 38;
(3) Naang Kham, female, age 35;
(4) Naang Non, female, age 21;
(5) Naang Zing, female, age 14;
(6) Naang Naang, female, age 12;
(7) Naang Yong, female, age 9; and
(8) Zaai Awng, male, age 7.
After arresting the farmers, the said SPDC troops searched the farm hut, took all the rice and food items, and burned down the farm hut. The farmers and their families were accused of being Shan soldiers and were taken to Paang Saang village. The farmers were released after community leaders in Paang Saang village tract guaranteed that they were only ordinary farmers, not Shan soldiers, and after 20,000 kyat was paid for their release. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, October 2003)
Displaced villagers robbed of their belongings, and an 8-year-old boy taken for 2 days in Nam-Zarng
In July 2003, displaced villagers who returned to temporarily stay and work at their former village were robbed of their belongings. In addition, troops from Military Operation Management Command No.21 based in Kho Lam village, Nam Zarng Township took an 8-year-old boy was taken away for 2 days and 1 night. The villagers were originally from Kung Sim village in Wan Hai village tract, Nam-Zarng Township, which had been forcibly relocated to Kho Lam village relocation site in 1997 by the then SLORC troops.
These villagers had been given permission by local SPDC troops to go back and farm the land at their former village during the rice cultivating season. Regardless, a patrol of the said SPDC troops came and robbed them of their belongings and took away the 8-year-old boy. During the time that they detained the child, they asked the child about Shan soldiers and activities of the farmers, before returning him to Kho Lam village relocation site. The soldiers took the following items from the villagers:
(1) Lung Ti, male, age 40,
2 warm jackets, 3 pairs of shoes and 11,900 kyat;
(2) Lung Wa-Ling, male, age 43, 3 warm jackets, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of trousers and 9,600 kyat;
(3) Lung Zaam Pee, male, age 46, 2 warm jackets, 2 pairs of shoes and 18,600 kyat;
(4) Lung Keng, male, age 49, 2 pairs of shoes, 6 kilograms of seasoning powder, 2 tin of cooking oil and 45,000 kyat. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, February 2004)
Displaced people forced to pay rent for lands bought from the military in Murng-Nai
Beginning August 2003, displaced people in the outskirts of Murng-Nai town were being forced to pay rent for their land to the SPDC troops of LIB 518 from whom they had bought it. About 70 families of displaced people, forcibly relocated from the surrounding villages in 1997 by the then SLORC troops, had bought plots of land to live on from the SPDC troops of LIB 518. All 70 families have been forced to either pay rent for those lands or leave.
When they were forcibly relocated in 1997, these 70 families had chosen to buy plots of land near their military base to live on that were offered by the SPDC troops of LIB 518. Each plot of land cost them between 7,000 and 10,000 kyat, depending on the size. After that time they built houses and lived on those lands.
However, in August 2003, the military authorities of LIB 518 told the villagers that because the land they lived on formerly belonged to the military, it was now needed to build a base for members of the people’s militia. The people’s militia had recently been trained by the Burmese military, and the villagers were required to leave. Those who did not want to leave immediately needed to pay rent on a monthly basis, indicated the authorities. Since then, the villagers have been forced to pay between 3,000 and 6,000 kyat for each plot of land, depending on its size, every month. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, March 2004)
Villagers robbed of their belonging at their houses in Kun-Hing
In November 2003, villagers of Saai Khaao village in Saai Khaao village tract, Kun-Hing Township, were accused of harboring Shan rebels and were robbed of their possessions at their houses by a patrol of about 50 soldiers from IB 246. The soldiers came to Saai Khaao village and surrounded the houses of Lung Kam and Pi Lu, saying that they saw some Shan soldiers run away from those houses as they approached the village. The soldiers thoroughly searched the houses but did not find any rebels or any weapons. However, they took everything of value they wanted in the houses. Lung Kam was said to have lost 30,000 kyat, 1-1/2 baht-weight of gold ornaments and a lot of clothes. Pi Lu lost 103,000 kyat, 2 baht-weight of gold ornaments and some clothes. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, February 2004)
Soldiers loot from villagers in Tachileik Township
On 21 November 2003, Pabong and Markyang in Fangmin tract, Tachileik Township were raided by Burmese army troops. Villagers reported that the troops said they were searching for hidden weapons but took everything valuable that they came across. One villager reported losing 700,000 even though there wasn’t a weapon in his house. The troops were also reported to have destroyed paddy outside of the village limits. (Source: "Junta Employs Scorched Earth against Shan Army," S.H.A.N., 26 November 2003)
A villager robbed of his money and valuables in Kun-Hing
On 12 December 2003, 3 soldiers from SPDC IB 246 robbed the house of Lung Zin-Ta (male), and stole 985,500 kyat, 3 kyat-weight of gold ornaments and a ruby worth 30,000 kyat when it was bought long ago. The next day, Lung Zin-Ta and some community leaders went to lodge a complaint with the military authorities at IB 246. Even though the villagers knew the culprits and were able to mention their names, their case was not accepted. “It is difficult because there is no evidence,” said the military commander who received the villagers’ complaint. “Because you have not seized them and showed them to us we cannot take any action now.” “Further more,” added the Commander, “you have been too ready to accuse our soldiers without any evidence. I can charge you with defaming our army and punish you for this.”
“However," the commander continued, “I will let you go this time. Next time if you accuse our soldiers without evidence, you will be harshly punished.” (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, March 2004)
SPDC's soldiers accused of looting local residents in Shan State
On 14 December 2003, LIB 316 of Talerh, 48 km northeast of Tachileik, issued order to each surrounding village tract to arrange for its provisions. "The village headmen complained it would be extremely difficult for them to track down the battalion's movements so they could prepare their food in time," said a trader from the area. "They therefore issued a new order that each household contribute 2,000 kyat (80 baht) to their daily allowances." Reports of confiscation of villagers' possessions were also received.
On 17 December, a gang on motor bikes and armed with machine guns raided the residence of U Sai Sein Na in Kun Hein Town in Shan States, robbing him of cash and over 76.75 grams of gold in necklaces, bracelets and rings. U Sai Sein Na, knowing the assailants, identified them as Saw Aung Thein of LIB 524, Zaw Naing of IB 286 and Bo Nan of IB 246. All 3 assailants were private soldiers stationed in local army battalions. U Sai Sein Na lodged complaints with their respective battalions. It was reported that the army did not take any action regarding the case following U Sai Sein Na's complaint. (Source: "SPDC's Soldiers Accused of Looting Local Residents in Shan State," Mizzima, 19 December 2003)
Unfair Levies and
Extortion in Tachileik
At the beginning of 2003, it was reported that the Burmese military junta had issued an order to all the townships in Shan State requiring the people to pay ‘death tax’ at the rate of 8,000 kyat per person who died. In Tachileik Township, however, people were being forced to pay much more than that. In addition to the 8,000 kyat ‘death tax’, they had to pay 300 baht (Thai) to the SPDC township authorities, 200 baht to the township municipality, as well as 100 baht to the undertakers for each death. For the burial and construction of a tomb, 3,000 baht had to be paid to the authorities. If the dead body was to be floated down the Mae Kong river, the same amount has to be paid to the authorities and 300 baht to the undertakers for taking the body to the river. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, April 2003)
High cattle tax
The troops from SPDC LIB 319 and Military Intelligence officials who are in control of Mang Se village, in Kut Khai Township, northern Shan State levied high taxes on cattle trading, a cattle trader reported. A person from Ma Bein village also indicated that on 16 January 2003, the tax rate for cattle was 10,000 to 100,000 kyat. The military would open fire over the cattle traders’ heads if they didn't stop when the military asked them to. Before they reached the soldiers, they were required to throw down their swords and knives. They were then required to sit under gunpoint and the soldiers would search their property. They also had to give money to the soldiers for the bullets they used to open fire over the traders. The soldiers would then demand an arbitrary amount of money. Many cattle traders who crossed this area are starving. They do not dare cross the others check points. (Source: PYNG, 2003)
Extortion for Water Festival in Kaeng-Tung
On 7 April 2003, the Commander of the SPDC Special Triangle Regional Military Command issued an order requiring the townspeople of Kaeng-Tung, in all 5 town quarters, to donate money to the township authorities for the coming water festival. Each house has to pay 2,000 kyat no later than 9 April 2003.
An order was also issued to all village tracts to come and join the water splashing ceremony in town. The ceremony was held day and night at the lake in the center of Kaeng-Tung town from 13 to 15 April 2003. Five temporarily decorated villas were set up around the lake and popular singers from Rangoon were hired to entertain the guests. The regional commander himself came to the lake to enjoy the water splashing every day. When he came, young women were required to dance and welcome him and security was tight during his presence, with many soldiers, police and people’s militia standing guard all around the lake.
Some families who did not have the money had to borrow from their friends and relatives to donate for the water festival because no one was allowed to defy the order. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, June 2003)
Extortion in Tachileik
Since April 2003, people in Tachileik Township were being forced to buy China-made electricity meter boxes from Wai Family Electrical Production and Supplies Co. Ltd. by the township SPDC authorities at unreasonably high prices.
In April 2003, Wai Family Co. announced that starting from May it would be solely supplying electricity 24-hours-a-day. In addition, the company required the people in Tachileik who wanted to use electricity to buy Chinese made meter boxes from the company at the following prices:
- 5 A (ampere) meter box = 30,000
- 10 A meter box = 35,000 baht
- 20 A meter box = 40,000 baht
- 30 A meter box = 60,000 baht
- 50 A meter box = 80,000 baht
- 60 A meter box = 100,000 baht
The price of the electricity was going to be 8 baht per unit and everyone was required to buy new meter boxes from the Wai Family Co., including those who already had meter boxes, if they wanted the electricity. People had been complaining, especially those who already owned well functioning meter boxes, that this was a kind of extortion because the authorities forced them to buy meter boxes at such high prices. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, July 2003)
Money extorted in lieu of forced labor in Murng-Sart
Since August 2003, people in Murng-Sart Township were being required by SPDC military authorities to provide money instead of regular forced labor and the military to use for other purposes. In August 2003, SPDC troops of LIB 333 issued an order to village headmen, village tract headmen and community leaders to collect 5,000 kyat per household per month from the people in Murng-Sart Township for military use. The money would be used to support people’s militia training and other areas in which civilian forced labor is regularly used, e.g., guarding the roads, clearing and maintaining the streets in the town. The people were told that if they provided the designated amount of money regularly, they would not have to provide forced labor for some of the work routinely requiring their labor. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, March 2004)
Extortion and forced labor in Lai-Kha
On 17 August 2003, 3 villagers from the outskirts of Lai-Kha town went together with a mini-tractor to gather bamboo to fence their rice fields. As they reached the edge of their rice fields with a truckload of bamboo, they were stopped by a group of local SPDC troops who the villagers of cutting bamboo without permission and confiscated the bamboo. The troops also detained the mini-tractor and the 3 villagers, and money was extorted for their release. Each of the villagers had to pay 1,500 kyat for the mini-tractor, 500 kyat for not having asked permission and 200 kyat for a pass to gather bamboo again. Altogether all of them had to pay 6,600 kyat for the mini-tractor and themselves, but their bamboo was confiscated.
A few days after this incident, local SPDC military authorities issued an order requiring owners of mini-tractors to provide a truckload of bamboo for each mini-tractor for the military for free. People who did not own any mini-tractor were required to build fences with the bamboo for the military, also unpaid. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, February 2004)
Money extorted for boxing-match entertainment in Kaeng-Tung
In November 2003, people in Kaeng-Tung Township were forced to buy tickets for a boxing match event organized by SPDC authorities at the Golden Triangle Regional Stadium in Kaeng-Tung town to raise funds for the families of the SPDC troops of the Golden Triangle Regional Command. The tickets, in the form of invitation letters, were distributed to all town quarters and villages in the Township. Each village or town quarter was required to buy from 100 to 500 tickets according to the size of its population, at the rate of 100 kyat per ticket. However, during the 3-4 days when the boxing matches were actually held at the said stadium, virtually all the seats were occupied by the SPDC troops and their families. Hardly any villagers were able to get a seat among them. The people complained that they had to pay for the event mainly to entertain the SPDC troops and their families. At the same time, the organizers, the authorities of the Golden Triangle Regional Command, said that the boxing match event had been a great success and had raised a lot of funds. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, March 2004)
Money extorted for flying lantern competition in Kaeng-Tung
On 1 November 2003, SPDC authorities in Kaeng-Tung Township called a meeting of village and community leaders and told them to collect money from the people to organize a flying lantern contest during the coming Buddhist religious light festival on the full-moon day of the 12th lunar month (8 November 2003). They were also told to make flying lanterns for their respective villages and quarters to take part in the contest. Each household was required to give 500 kyat to the SPDC authorities to be used as funds in organizing the contest. Entrance tickets to watch the contest, that was to be held at the township sports ground, were sold in advance and many people were persuaded to buy, at the price of 3,000 kyat. However, after money had been collected, many tickets sold out and flying lanterns made, ready to be launched, on the eve of the full-moon day, the SPDC authorities announced that the contest had been cancelled due to security reasons. Since flying lanterns had already been made, the villagers launched them at their respective Buddhist temples and monasteries on the full-moon day. But no one dared to inquire where the money, extorted from the people and from the ticket sales, had gone. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, March 2004)
People forced to provide food and money for military activities in Tachileik
On 14 December 2003, a column of SPDC troops from Ta-Lur based LIB 316 ordered the village and community leaders in Ta Lur, Murng Laen and Nam Kherm village tracts to prepare packets of cooked food for their troops. One packet of food from each house was to be gathered and sent to the military camp at Kawng Ke, about 2 furlongs east of Ta Lur, by the villagers at 9:00 am in the morning of 15 December 2003. The order indicated that the troops were to patrol uninhabited jungle areas and needed the help of the people.
A few days later, on 18 December 2003, another order came from the same troops requiring the people from the same village tracts to provide money for the expenses of military patrols. Each household was to provide 80 baht (Thai) to their respective leaders who were to take it to the military camp not later than 3:00 pm on 20 December 2003. In order to save the villagers the time for cooking, the soldiers would only accept help in the form of money in the long run, said the order. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, March 2004)
Forced Sale of Crops
The SPDC authorities’ tricky ways of weighing
On 21 January 2003, the in-charge of the Farm Products Enterprise (FPE), U Aye Chit from Nam Kham Township, Northern Shan State set up a branch office at Mai Wee village to purchase paddy. On 6 March 2003, a local farmer said, “most of the farmers are illiterate and simple and they do not know how to weigh their paddy.” In reality, the government limits 10 viss (40 lbs) for a basket of paddy. However, the in-charge rearranged the rate as 14 viss (56 lbs) for a basket of paddy. If a farmer carries 16 basketfuls of paddy, he would get only 10 baskets after weighing. A farmer who argued with U Aye Chit about the weighing was told that his paddy was mixed up with unnatural paddy and that was the reason for the difference. U Aye Chit said to the farmer “you shouldn’t tell any one about this. If you tell others you will be arrested and your farmland will be confiscated.” He told an officer at Namkham that the total 6,500 baskets of rice would be 9,000 baskets after purchasing. Some farmers who could not give the required amount of paddy had to pay 2,200 kyat per basket of paddy instead. (Source: PYNG, 2003)
SPDC troops are still
collecting paddy from the villagers
On 23 January 2003, 30 soldiers from SPDC IB 33 went in to Namlon village tract in Shi-paw Township, Shan State where mostly Palaung and Shan people are living. The soldiers demanded that villagers pay tax for the paddy. Each family was required to send 5 or 6 tin of paddy to the military camp. After the soldiers collected 800 tin of paddy from the villagers, they forced 2 rice mill factory owners to mill the rice without any payment. After that, they forced villagers who have horses to carry the rice back to their battalion (33) camp. (Source: PYNG, 2003)
People forced to sell rice quotas even before they could cultivate their rice fields in Nam-Zarng
In February 2003, farmers who had bought land from the SPDC authorities in Kho Lam village tract, Nam-Zarng Township, but had not been able to cultivate them yet. At the same time, they were already required to sell their rice quotas to the authorities at the rate of 5 baskets per acre. They were also forced to pay a rate of 2,000 kyat per basket if they did not have the rice.
In November 2002, SPDC troops from IB 64 and members of the Land Survey Department at Kho Lam village measured a stretch of barren land south of Kung Sim village in the area. They offered to sell it to people who did not have land to cultivate rice, at the rate of 2,000 kyat per acre. While the land was flat and looked good for cultivation, there was no water to irrigate the land. The authorities offered to dig irrigation ditches and divert water from nearby sources if enough land was purchased to be cultivated. Many landless farmers bought the land at about 5-6 acres per household. But up until the time of this report, the irrigation ditches had yet to be dug by the SPDC authorities.
On 7 February 2003, an order was issued by the SPDC authorities requiring the farmers who had bought the land to sell their (not yet grown) rice at a 5-basket-per-acre quota to the authorities, or pay in cash at the rate of 2,000 kyat per basket, without fail. (Source: SHRF Monthly, SHRF, April 2003)
Rice procurement puts farmers on the verge of starvation in Nam-Zarng
During late February and March 2003, a patrol of SPDC troops from IB 66, led by Commander Naing Oo, came to Kho Lam village tract in Nam-Zarng Township and ordered the farmers in the area to sell their rice quotas as designated by the SPDC authorities. The SPDC troops come to buy the rice quotas in Kho Lam area every year, but in 2003 they demanded about 2 fold more than 2002. This year farmers who had their own rice fields were required to sell 8 baskets per acre, as opposed to 4 baskets per acre last year. Each basket was sold at the rate of 300 kyat per basket, while it was 3,000 kyat per basket at the market. Villagers who did not have any rice fields but cultivated small plots of dry rice farm were required to sell 8 to 12 baskets per household without fail, regardless of whether or not hey had enough rice left to eat.
The soldiers searched the granaries and houses of the farmers who were not able to fill their quotas. A few baskets of rice kept in the granaries as seeds for the next season were also measured and taken away by the SPDC troops. They also took the rice which the farmers kept in their houses for cooking their meals even though there were usually only 1-2 baskets. This left only 4-5 pyi for each household, which lasted only a few days. The farmers were thus stripped of what they had been relying on most for their survival. It was reported that, "There was hardly a family who did not weep especially those who were left with no money or other property." (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2003)
SPDC authorities forced farmers to sell paddy in Mu-se district
On 11 March 2003, Township PDC Chairman Captain Tin Win Naing, reportedly forced farmers to sell their paddy to the government in Namkham Township, Musea district, Northern Shan State. There was also a meeting at the Township office attended by personal from various departments of the wards and village tract PDCs to discuss the issue about purchasing paddy from farmers. In the meeting the captain said that 65,000 baskets had to be purchased in 2003. Last year, they were only able to purchase 40,000 baskets of paddy, so they received some bad looks from the commander. This year the commander ordered them to buy 65,000 baskets of paddy.
The farmers tried to negotiate in vain. Some farmers deserted their farmlands and searched for others jobs opportunities because 25,000 baskets more have to be sold to the government at the price of 560 kyat per basket. The captain also decided to take 1,200 kyat per basket from the farmers who could not sell the required amount of paddy to the government. (Source: PYNG)
Restrictions on mills in Tachileik
In late March 2003, SPDC military authorities in Murng Laen village tract, Tachileik Township, issued an order banning farmers in the area from trading and milling their rice until all the farmers had sold their rice quotas to the authorities. Farmers whose rice fields had been destroyed by flood and sand were not spared. Rice mill owners were warned not to function until further order. If noises from any running mills were heard, the owners would be immediately arrested. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2003)
Failure to fill rice quota sends farmers to the can
On 25 March 2003, more than 30 farmers who fled their homes near Taunggyi, Shan State, reported that approximately 50 farmers who were unable to meet their rice quota to sell the to the government rice procurement program were imprisoned. The farmers indicated that every household, both growers and non-growers of rice in Wan Pong, Nawngwawn tract were required to sell 80 tang (1 tang = 54 litres) to the government. As a result, many villagers went to jail and remained in jail at the time of the report because their families were unable to pay the fine for their release. (Source: "Failure to Fill Rice Quota Sends Farmers to the Can," S.H.A.N., 25 March 2003)
Rice procurement causes farmers to flee in Kun-Hing
In March and April 2003, many farmers from Wan Lao village tract in Kun-Hing Township fled after being forced to sell their rice quotas by the SPDC authorities so unfairly that it stripped them of all their belongings and put them in a very difficult situation. During the last growing season, many rice fields had been badly destroyed by insects. This prompted the farmers to report the situation to the concerned authorities, who consoled them and told them not to worry, as their rice quotas could be reduced. But no one came to look at the conditions of the rice crop, which later yielded only about half the amount produced the previous year. When the time came to sell the rice quotas, the authorities said they could not reduce the quotas because they would also have to do the same in other areas. They forced the villagers in Wan Lao area to sell the originally specified amount, telling them to share the burden with all the villagers in the whole village tract. Every house in the village tract had to provide a certain amount of rice, or money to buy rice, to fill up the village tract quota, after which many farmers had virtually nothing left to be able to continue making a living as farmers. Since then farmers have been fleeing one after another to different places. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2003)
Unfair rice procurement causes death in Kun-Hing
In early April 2003, a displaced farming couple was so unfairly forced to sell nearly 2 fold of their originally designated rice quota by SPDC troops from IB 246 that the wife went into shock and fainted, and later died at a hospital, in Kun-Hing Township. Zaai Wun (age 27), and his wife, Naang Seng Mawn (age 25), were originally from Kho Ngawk village in Kun Pu village tract, Kun-Hing Township, which had been forcibly relocated to the outskirts of Kun-Hing town in 1996 by the then SLORC troops. The couple lived with their 2 children at the relocation site. During the last rice-growing season, they leased a plot of land from another farmer and grew rice. They were required to pay the land owner 36 baskets of the rice produced for leasing the land, and sell 44 baskets to the SPDC authorities at the rate of 370 kyat per basket in accordance with the rice procurement policy. When the SPDC authorities came in March to collect rice quotas, the couple did not go to sell their rice because they had not yet paid for leasing the land and had decided to delay until they had paid the lease.
On 3 April 2003, even before they could pay the lease, a group of 16 soldiers from SPDC IB 246 came directly to their rice field and demanded the rice quota. When the troops saw that there were about 120 baskets of rice in all, they forcibly took 80 baskets instead of the originally designated 44 baskets. The couple explained that they still needed to pay 36 baskets for the lease of the land and if the SPDC troops took away 80 baskets there would be only 4 baskets left for them. They pleaded with the troops to take only the designated 44 baskets and begged for mercy. The troops kept to their demand and forcibly took away 80 baskets. The couple was so shocked that the wife, Naang Seng Mawn, collapsed and fainted, unable to speak. Although her husband, Zaai Wun, and their relatives took her to the hospital in Kun-Hing town, Naang Seng Mawn did not recover and later died. She was survived by her husband Zaai Wun, son Zaai Kam (age 5) and daughter Naang Seng Ngern (age 3). (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2003)
A displaced farmer shot dead for being unable to provide rice quota, in Lai-Kha
On 29 April 2003, troops from SPDC IB 55 shot and killed a displaced farmer on the road just outside of Phuay Hai, Lai-Kha Township because he was unable to sell the quota of rice demanded by the troops. At the time of this incident, Zaai Zaam Pun was living in Phuay Hai village relocation site with his wife and 2 children, 8 years and 6 years old, and earned a living as a subsistence rice farmer. He was required by the SPDC authorities in the area to sell 60 baskets of unhulled rice, but unfortunately his rice field had only produced 15 baskets in the last season. When he was summoned by the authorities to sell his rice quota on 24 April 2003, Zaai Zaam Pun explained that he was only able to produce 15 baskets from his rice field. Moreover, the amount that his fields had produced had mostly been consumed by his family, and he also had no money to buy rice from others to fill up his quota.
A patrol of SPDC troops was then sent to search Zaai Zaam Pun’s house where they saw his wife and 2 children living in a small shabby thatched house and only 3 baskets of rice which he kept to be used as seeds for the next rice growing season. The troops took away the rice and warned Zaai Zaam Pun that he would have to somehow find the remaining 57 baskets and fill up his quota no later than 30 April 2003, or face the consequences.
On the day of the incident, a patrol of SPDC troops again came to Zaai Zaam Pun’s house and when they did not find him nor any rice in the house, they asked his wife where he was. The wife told them her husband had gone to find rice and the troops left the village. As the troops were leaving Phuay Hai village, they met Zaai Zaam Pun and some other villagers who were returning on the road outside the village. The troops asked Zaai Zaam Pun where the rice was so that they could come and collect it the next day. Zaai Zaam Pun said that he was not able to get any rice for the quota, and even for his children to eat, he had to beg around and was only able to get 3 milk-cans of rice. The SPDC troops became angry and shouted at him, “So, you don’t want to sell us your rice?”
As Zaai Zaam Pun was trying to explain that he had tried as best he could but no one would lend him rice or money, the SPDC troops kicked at him and he fell to the ground. The SPDC troops then shot him dead at the side of the road east of Phuay Hai village. After they had shot Zaai Zaam Pun dead, the SPDC troops warned the other villagers to tell people that Zaai Zaam Pun had actually resisted the government authorities, otherwise they would have to face the same fate as him.
The victim, Zaai Zaam Pun, and his family were originally from Ter Leng village in Haai Seng village tract, Lai-Kha Township, which had been forcibly relocated to the outskirts of Lai-Kha town in 1997 by the then SLORC troops. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, August 2003)
Forced to sell rice to SPDC troops near Namtu
On 3 May 2003, SPDC troops from IB 22 led by Major Aung Myint, based in Namtu Township set up a camp between Namtu and Man Tong Township, Northern Shan State. Villagers in Man Tong, who came to sell rice in Namtu at the cost of 7,900 kyat per small sack, were forced to sell 10 sacks to the SPDC troops at the cost of only 3,500 kyat per sack. Villagers who refused to sell their rice to the SPDC for 3,500 kyat per sack, their rice were confiscated. The first time the SPDC troops claimed that the rice was for their own troops but later sold this rice to the villagers near their camp at the cost of 7,000 kyat per sack.(Source: PYNG, 2003)
Military Monopoly on Trade and Agriculture
More restrictions imposed, people forced to buy firewood, in Murng-Ton
Since early 2003, military authorities from SPDC LIB 519 issued an order creating more restrictions on the movement of people in Wan Naa village tract, Murng-Ton Township, requiring them to ask for permission from the military every time they go to their farms outside their villages. A group of villagers who were all going to the same area were only given 1 document as a pass, with all their names and destinations written on it. Each person had to pay 100 kyat for the document. The pass was valid for only 5 days after which the villagers were required to ask for a new one. Villagers who wanted to gather firewood were not given permission and told that the forestry department had banned woodcutting in the area. Villagers were instead told to buy wood from the SPDC troops at the rate of 3,000 kyat per mini-truck-load of firewood. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, June 2003)
People forced to grow crops for the military in Tachileik
Since October 2003, people in Pa Leo and Kaeng Laab village tracts in Tachileik Township are being forced by the SPDC troops of LIB 433 to cultivate maize and chili for the military, without receiving anything for their labour and are subject to fines if the crops do not yield as expected. Maize and chili seeds are provided by the military and the people are required to cultivate them until they have been harvested. If the yields do not meet the minimum amounts designated, the growers are subject to a 2,000 kyat fine per household. Each household is required to grow 150 chili plants and 5 tin of maize seeds on an acre of land. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, January 2004)
5.10 Tenasserim Division
Note: Mergui-Tavoy District is an area demarcated by the KNU as part of Karen territory. Mergui-Tavoy falls into SPDC demarcated Tenasserim Division and is under the patrol of the 4th Brigade of the KNLA. The SPDC does not recognize Mergui-Tavoy as an official district.
Forced Sale of Crops
On 2 February 2003, Burmese troops based in Palauk village demanded the villagers from Pasawoak village tract provide the rice quota. The farmers had to provide the troops with 12 baskets of rice per acre. The total amount of rice that Pasawoak villagers had to give was 1580 baskets. The Burmese troops only paid them 370 kyat per basket of rice while the market price was 3000 kyat per basket. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, February 2003)
Unfair Levies and Taxes
Burmese troops asked roofing leafs because they did not get the chicken
On 6 January 2003, a group of Burmese troops from LIB 401 led by second Lieutenant Zaw Win Hton arrived at Kawurt Hta village in eastern Mergui Township, Mergui district, and asked the villagers for 20 chickens. The villagers could not find 20 chickens for them, so the soldiers asked for 1000 pieces of roofing leaf to be sent to their camp in Theinbaw Na village instead. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, January 2003)
Burmese troops extorted 25,000 kyat from a sawmill owner, demanded 50,000 kyat from the villagers
On 8 January 2003, a group of Burmese troops from LIB 410, led by 2nd Battalion Commander Kyaw Min, entered to Pasawlaw (Michaunglong) village in Yebyu Township, Tavoy district, and extorted 25,000 kyat from a sawmill owner. The name of the sawmill owner was not known. Those troops accused the villagers in Pasawlaw of hiding KNLA soldiers, and they fined the villagers 50,000 kyat. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, January 2003)
Burmese troops demanded roofing leafs for their camp
On 15 January 2003, Camp Commander Sein Than from Burmese army LIB 403, based in Aye Bay village in Theyetchaung Township, Tavoy district, demanded 2,500 pieces of roofing leaf from Saw Kay and Htee Pah Doh villages. The villagers had to send the roofing leaves on 18 January without delay. The roofing leaves were for the military camp. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, January 2003)
Burmese troops demanded betel nuts
On 21 January 2003, Camp Commander Yeh Aung Seo from Burma army LIB 410, based in Htoo Ler village in Pawklo river (Banchaung) in the east of Theyetchaung Township, Tavoy district, demanded 500 betel nuts from each betel nut plantation owner in Htoo Ler village. For those who could not pay, the Burmese troops asked them to cut down their betel nut trees to build a bridge at Nya Maw Hta in the village. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, January 2003)
On 2 February 2003, Burmese troops based in Palauk village demanded 13 tons of wood from three village tracts in Palaw Township, Mergui district, Tenasserim Division. Those village tracts are Pasawoak (Wanzawoak) village tract, Paycha (Pyicha) village tract and Palauk village tract. The pieces of wood were for the Burmese troops to build 2 bridges between Paycha Hpo Lor and Wah Lor, to the east of Paycha village. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, February 2003)
On 10 February 2003, Divisional Commander Lt. General Maung Bo attended and presided over a high school opening ceremony. After the ceremony, Pe village headman, Tin Sa collected money to cover the expenses of the ceremony from Patauk Nge, Sa Ma Taw, Jo Se Kwe (Leikaing), Lew Kwe Dot (Sinzwe), Ta Kot Hta (Tagondaing), Htee Oo Ooo (Hpabyoke), Pe Ta Kaat, and Pe village. Each village had to provide 1,000 kyat. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, February 2003)
A villager from Kyauk Shaat village in Yepyu Township, Tavoy district reported that in 1991 LIB 409 had confiscated his 7.3 acres of cashew nut plantation without paying any compensation. The land was used to build their battalion head quarter. Afterwards the battalion officer allowed his family to collect the yield by paying 25,000 kyat per year to him. From 1991 to 2002, he paid that amount and was able to collect the crop from his plantation. Yet, on 10 February 2003, while his family was collecting cashew nuts from the plantation, the battalion adjutant, Captain Yan Naing arrived with his followers and told him that he was not allowed to collect the yield. At the same time U Ba Thein, a former owner of 10 acres of cashew nut plantation was also banned from collecting the yield from his own plantation which was confiscated by LIB 409 in 1991 without compensation. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, September 2003)
On 12 February 2003, General Maung Bo, SPDC Local Military Operation Commander, ordered Peh-deh area chairman Han Sein to collect 1,000 kyat from each household in the following villages to cover the expenses of a new high school opening ceremony in Peh-deh area:
(5) Ta-koe-hta and
(7) Pi-ta-ka, and
(8) Pi-kee. (Source: KIC, 2003)
On 17 March 2003, a group of patrolling Burmese soldiers were attacked by Karen guerilla soldiers on the perimeter of Nawtaw Hkee village, northern Palaw Township, Mergui district. After the fighting, the Burmese troops demanded compensation from the villagers living in the Pasaw Oak, a forced relocation site. The villagers had to provide 600,000 kyat in compensation. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, March 2003)
On 7 April 2003, BA LIB 560 and 559 ordered Taung Nge village Pyithusit (SPDC's people militia) leader Win Bo to collect and send the villagers to their headquarters for military material and ration transportation purpose to Chaung Chi military outpost on Thai-Burma border. The headquarters are based in Leinnya, Mandaing in Bokpyin Township, Kaw Thaung district. Win Bo made the following demands of the villagers:
(1) Manorone village, 15 persons, 150,000 kyat. (They went with demanded money);
(2) Hti Nya Ou village, 10 persons or 150,000 kyat (They sent only money);
(3) Hkechaung village, 5 persons or 100,000 kyat (They sent only money);
(4) Hklaw Thoo Gaw village, 15 persons or 150,000 kyat (They went);
(5) Mu Khwa village, 10 persons or 150,000 kyat (They went);
(6) La Hpu Nga village, 5 persons or 100,000 kyat (They only sent 100,000 kyat);
(7) Taung Nge village, 27 persons or 300,000 kyat (They only sent 300,000 kyat);
(8) Kawbawk village, 25 persons or 250,000 kyat (They went);
(9) Leinnya village, 35 persons or 600,000 kyat (They went); and
(10) Mandaing village, 35 persons or 600,000 kyat (They went).
(Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, April 2003)
On 27 April 2003, a troop from Burma army's IB 285 led by an officer, Htun Htun Kyaw, combined with Pyithusit (people's militia) led by Win Thein, entered to Kawurt village area in the east of Palaw Township, Mergui district and faced an ambush set by Karen soldiers. For this case they captured Kawurt village leaders Saw That Taw and Oo Shwe and asked for 50,000 kyat. Moreover, as that troop suffered 1 man killed and 1 man wounded, they demanded 120,000 kyat from Kawurt village. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, April 2003)
In May, it was reported that soldiers from SPDC LIB 561 were extorting money from travelers at Ban Law village jetty in Mergui Township. The soldiers demanded 25 kyat per person, 100 kyat per motorcycle, and 50 kyat per bicycle. The head of the people’s militia, U Kyaw Ngwe reported the situation to the battalion commander, Zaw Myo Thant, who did not take any action regarding the report. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, November 2003)
On 10 June 2003, Coastal Region Military Command's Commander Brigadier Gen. Tha Aye demanded 20,000 betel nut saplings from Paw Klo area in the south east of Tavoy for his plantation.(Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, June 2003)
On 11 June 2003, the military in Palaw area ordered all the households in Pyicha village tract (in Palaw Township, Mergui district, Tenasserim division) to buy a picture of Senior Gen. Than Shwe as a compulsory duty. They had to pay in cash at the rate of 10,000 kyat per picture. According to the report, all the nearby village tracts were also ordered to buy the picture of the military regime's leader. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, June 2003)
On 16 June 2003, Palaw Township chairman Oo Moo Khin Zaw, Agricultural Officer Oo Min Htun, and the Palaw town sections chairman and secretaries summoned a meeting at Ka-ne-they La village tract. In the meeting they demanded 100 betel nut saplings, 100 mango saplings, 100 cashew saplings, 100 cassava saplings, 100 oil palm saplings, 100 banana saplings, 100 pine apple saplings and 100 saplings of (Kin Mon Chin) from Ka-ne-they La village tract. They informed the village headman that all the village tracts must buy 5 new breed chickens each for their tracts which cost 950 kyat per chick and the villagers must pay for the total amount within the month of June completely. Palaw Township is in the north of Mergui district area in Tenasserim division. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, June 2003)
On 16 June 2003, it was reported that the village administration council in Maung Me Shaung village in Tavoy Township went around and collected money from every households which they called. The amounts were as follows:
(1) Fund for hosting visiting officials…………....... 300 kyat;
(2) Fund for general development in village…..…. 200 kyat;
(3) Fund for people militia and fire brigade…….… 200 kyat;
(4) Fund for front line military personnel………….. 150 kyat; and
(5) Traveling cost for village administration council…… 150 kyat every month.
The administration council collects more 1,000 kyat per month for football and sport funds in July of every year. The villagers have to pay from 300 to 1000 kyat depending on their living standards. It was also reported that the SPDC military had not conscripted any forced porters for almost 2 years. Instead, the each household has had to pay 500 kyat per month in porter fees. There are approximately 150 households in Maung Me Shaung village. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, June 2003)
On 22 June 2003, SPDC LIB 561 Column Commander Captain Min Zan Oo demanded 3000 palm leaves for roofing, 250 logs for fencing post, 5000 betel nut seeds and 5000 durian seeds from the villagers in Taket. The demanded items had to be sent to his station. Taket village is about 40 miles south east of Mergui town in Taninthayi Township. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, July 2003)
In the first week of July, the Yebyu Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC), in a northern township of Tavoy district, demanded 3 tons of planks and scantlings from each of the villages of Yapoo, Ywa Haun, Tahkawlo and Milage 60. The concerned villages had to send the demanded materials to Kaleinaung village (50 miles north of Tavoy by the bank of Tavoy River). The planks and scantling were to be used to build a TPDC office in Kaleinaung. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, July 2003)
On 10 July 2003, SPDC LIB 342 No.3 Company Commander Lt. Htun Myint demanded 30,000 kyat from each household at Pawa Plaw Hpa Htaw village, 50 km southwest of Mergui. He said those who gave the demanded amount of money would be relieved from their forced labour duties, military portering, transporting rations and supplies to Lerhpahdoh outpost and guide duties etc. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, July 2003)
On 28 July 2003, Maj. Aung Kywe demanded money from Taket village tract, Teninthayi Township, Mergui district for a military training for the Pyithusit (SPDC's people militia). The villages had to provide 30,000 kyat and 2 sacks of rice for each member of the Pyithusit who was attending the training. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, July 2003)
On 29 July 2003, SPDC LIB 557 was conducting a military training for the Pyithusit and demanded money from Pawa Hta for their training. They received 170,000 kyat as they demanded. As the training progressed, they said the given money was not enough and again asked the villagers to give 2000 kyat per household. Pawa Hta is a village in Pawa tract and is situated between Mergui and Kawthoung town in Tenasserim Division. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, July 2003)
On 6 September 2003, a skirmish broke out between the KNLA and SPDC LIB 408 near Law Ther village, Yepyu Township, Tavoy District. As a result, 3 SPDC soldiers were killed and 3 of their firearms were taken by the KNLA. On 7 September, Company Commander Capt Kyaw Soe and his troops from LIB 408 arrived in Law Ther and demanded the lost arms. The villagers did not have any arms to give. Kyaw Soe then demanded that the villagers pay 500,000 kyat. He and his troops consumed 2 pigs and 6 tin of rice and then kidnapped the village headman and 1 villager. They also took 1 motorcycle from a villager. The villagers were able to collect 20,000 kyat from each household to pay the ransom for the release of the 2 villagers. After receiving the money, Kyaw Soe released the 2 villagers. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, September 2003)
On 19 September 2003, troops from SPDC IB 265 led by Lt Thura Tin Soe Aung demanded 55 fowl and 50,700 bamboo spikes from Anine village, Mergui Township, Tenasserim division. The communities were also forced to plant 1,500 oil palms for the military plantation. This year these farmers were ordered to pay 6 baskets of paddy rice per acre of rice plantation. A military officer demanded that the farmers pay in cash, which amounted to 10,000 kyat per household. The whole community paid a total amount of 430,000 kyat. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, October 2003)
In October 2003, No.12 Divisional Military Training Center Commander Lt. Col. Tin Myint demanded 7 ft. long readymade roofing sheets, made from woven palm leaves, from Pyicha, Myitchinzu, Lerhpadoh, Kataungni, Wagon, Maw Kakle and Pasaw Oak villages. Each village had to send 100 roofing sheets plus 500 betel nut seeds to his training center office. This commander also demanded "crop tax" from Pasaw Oak and Panwehpoklo villages, which cost the 2 communities 700,000 kyat for the betel nut tax and 200,000 kyat for the cashew nut tax. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, October 2003)
On 2 October 2003, an SPDC "Entertainment Troop" arrived to Palaw town. For their arrival, the chairman from Palaw Township demanded 10,000 kyat each from Kanetheyla, Pawkato and Kema villages. The money had to be sent to his office at a certain time. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, October 2003)
On 11 October 2003, Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Khin Maung Aye from IB 280 near Palauk in Palaw Township Mergui district demanded “land tax” from whoever owned land in nearby villagers. He taxed 5,000 kyat per acre and if someone did not pay, all of his/her land would be confiscated, warned the commander. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, October 2003)
On 28 October 2003, the SPDC LID 20 tactical commander, Col. Tin Maung Oo, summoned the Tarawat Hta village headman to his frontline HQ and demanded 100 rattans from each household. The people had to send the rattan to him on 31 October without delay or excuse. If there were any delays, the village headman would be put into confinement for 28 days. Tarawat Hta village is located on the Tenasserim riverside. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, October 2003)
Since the beginning of October 2003, the military authorities were collecting fees from the travelers who crossed over the bridges between Mergui and Tavoy. They asked for 500 kyat per truck, 200 kyat per bicycle, 200 kyat per horse drawn cart, and 200 kyat per pick-up truck etc. Local people do not understand why the military officers were asking for a fee to cross the bridge. The bridges were built with the people's labor and money. Moreover, the local authorities were demanding other taxes in the area, such as 250 kyat for 1 truck, 100 kyat for 1 pickup and 100 kyat for a motorcycle. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, November 2003)
On 8 November 2003, Manorone village headman Saw San Lin was fined by the SPDC’s No.342 LIB commander to pay an amount of money equal to the price of 1 walkie-talkie communication set. The headman was ordered by the same commander to go and find the displaced villagers (IDP) who were hiding in the jungle near by Manorone village. He was also ordered to persuade the IDPs to come back and stay in the relocation site. After looking for a long time, the headman could not find the IDPs. As a result, the military officer accused him of supporting the rebels and fined him the above mentioned amount. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, November 2003)
On 26 November 2003, timber traders from Thein Kun, in the east of Mergui informed Captain Khing Aye that Captain Kyaw Soe had extorted money from them. Captain Kyaw Soe had confiscated 2 chainsaws from U Hla Win and U Baw and demanded 300,000 kyat. After Kyaw Soe got the amount of money he demanded, he returned the chainsaws to the owners but not their identity cards. No action was taken to deal with their case. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, November 2003)
On 27 November 2003, villagers from Pa Wa village tract were fined 500 kyat each for not attending the opening ceremony of the Kywe Goo Bridge, which was held by local SPDC authorities near Mergui town. Villagers from Manorone village tract were also fined 1,800 kyat per household. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, November 2003)
On 29 November 2003, troops from SPDC IB 25 captured 29 cattle belonging to a Pyinthadaw villager near Thu Kha a military camp in the east of Tavoy near the Thai-Burma border. After confiscating the cattle, the battalion commander, Col. Myint Swe, offered the cattle to a Thai cattle trader for 2,000 baht per head. When the trader went to redeem the cattle, the commander changed his mind and demanded 100,000 baht for all of the cattle. The next day, the Thai traders came and provided the amount of money demanded by the commander but only received 21 cattle. Before the cattle were captured, the Thai traders made an agreement with a cattle seller to pay 220,000 baht for the entire heard. After they bought the cattle from the SPDC officer, they sold the cattle and gave only 60,000 baht to the cattle seller. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, November 2003)
On 30 November 2003, a group of 15 Burmese from Taung Min Pyaung in Tavoy district were on their way to Thailand when they were stopped by Burmese Army troops who took their money and forced them to go back. They were going to Thailand to look for when work. When they arrived in Myin Kan Baw village, east of Tavoy, the militia demanded a fee of 1,500 kyat each to pass and 100 kyat each to stay for the night. The following day, they went up the Kamoethway River by boat, which they hired for 5,000 kyat per person. On the way, they were captured by troops from SPDC IB 280 at Nyaung Chaung Wa village. A platoon commander forced them to go back and extorted 100,000 kyat from them. (Source: Month Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, December 2003)
In March 2003, the newly formed SPDC Artillery Battalion No.306, with headquarters in the east of Mergui district, confiscated 50 acres of villagers’ agricultural land for their battalion’s agriculture program. The land belonged to villagers from Mawtone and Ban La Moot villages. The majority of the villagers were either Burmese Muslim or Burman and all had proper certificates of Township from the Department of Agriculture. Both of the villages are in Taninthayi Township, Tenasserim division. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, March 2003)
93 acres of civilian land confiscated by Burma Army in the southern region
On 4 May 2003, it was reported that SPDC LIB 561 under the command of LID 13 confiscated 93 acres of civilian land in the south east of Taninthayi Township, Mergui. The LIB 561 headquarters are in Htonedaw village, Taninthayi Township and was ordered to establish work sites for their self-sufficiency. As a result, a 50-acre plantation and a 23-acre plantation were confiscated from Thabokleikgyi village. The land confiscation caused many local farmers to worry that their land would be next or that they would have to do forced labor when the agriculture project began. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, May 2003)
On 6 September 2003, Yepyu Township Peace and Development Council in Tavoy district confiscated 5 acres of plantation owned by U Pai Hla Hsan without paying any compensation, in order to build a township office. U Pai Hla Hsan is a Muslim who lives in Kalain Aung village. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, September 2003)
On 26 May 2003, soldiers from SPDC No.309 Artillery Battalion felled trees from plantations in the deserted village of Pyicha in Palaw Township, Mergui district, Tenasserim division. The trees fell on to the villagers' plants and destroyed 800 betel nut palms and 17 coconut palms. The plantation owners were 3 villagers who were forcibly relocated to the new Pyicha village on the sides of the Mergui-Tavoy car-road. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, May 2003)
On 4 July 2003, at about 9:00 pm, about 10 soldiers from LIB 433 led by Captain Ye Lin went into the The-chaung village, Yebyu Township. The soldiers climbed every house in the village and took the property that they found. The soldiers took livestock and other valuable items that they found in and under the house, even when the villagers were present. It as reported that the soldiers took pigs, chickens and house materials. They even verbally abused women and young girls in the village. The villagers were very unhappy about the robbery. As a result, they informed the column commander of that battalion, Major San Myint Oo, so that he could punish the soldiers. Instead, the commander replied that his soldiers did not do any looting in the village. (Source: “Lawlessness in Rural Areas in Southern Burma," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 11/2003, 30 November 2003)
On 9 July 2003, SPDC LIB 561 Column Commander Captain Min Zan Oo took 1 Honda boat engine, 5 gallons of gasoline, and 1000 dog-fruit seeds to eat, from Oo Kyaw Thaung at Taket a village 70 km in the south-east of Mergui. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, July 2003)
On 16 July 2003, Maj. Aung Kywe, the 2 ICs of SPDC LIB 561 in Taninthayi Township in the east of Mergui district, Tenasserim division demanded 1 pig and 1 sack of rice from Taket village for his men. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, July 2003)
On 15 July 2003, the SPDC LIB 342 second column commander, Maj. Kyaw Soe, and his troops entered Pawa Plaw Hpa Htaw village, Taninthayi Township, Mergui district, and took away some rice, curry powder, chili, cooking oil, salt, chickens and other food items from the villagers which all cost 50,000 kyat. He paid nothing for what he took. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, July 2003)
On 16 July 2003, SPDC troops from LIB 560 entered to Manorone village in the south east of Taninthayi Township and looted 70,000 kyat from a woman named Mwa De Mur. The victim did not know the name of the looters. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, July 2003)
On 19 September 2003, SPDC IB 25 led by Maj. Nyut Sein arrived to Nyaung Chaung Wa village and took 1 pig worth 25,000 kyat, alcohol worth 10,000 kyat, and other food items from the village. The village headman demanded 4000 kyat from each house to cover the expenses for feeding the military. Nyaung Chaung Wa (Htee Klerhta) village is situated about 45 miles in the northeast of Tavoy, and it has 20 houses. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, October 2003)
On 19 September 2003, a group of about 10 men from IB 25 arrived in Htee Klerhta village about 45 miles in the northeast of Tavoy. They accused a couple, Saw Baw and Naw Lah Po, of supporting the KNU. They proceeded to loot whatever they saw from the couple's house which 30,000 baht and 120,000 kyat. While the soldiers were looting their belongings in their house, the couple ran away in fear and escaped. Now they are hiding in the jungle and do not dare go back to their village out of fear of the SPDC troops. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, October 2003)
On 28 November 2003, troops from SPDC No.12 Military Training Center and some members of the people’s militia from Myit Chin Su, led by Col. Tin Myint, looted 2 pigs and 3 fowl from Naw Shee Goh at Pa Yo Kwee, in southern Tavoy. The villagers were also ordered to abandon their plantations, return to the relocation site, and not go out to their plantations again. The villagers had been forcibly relocated to the sides of the Mergui-Tavoy road in 1996. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department, KNU, November 2003)
5. 11 Other Places in Burma
Farmers forced to sell cotton
On 30 January 2003, it was reported that 5 farmers of Pale Township, Sagaing Division were arrested by township authorities in the last week of the month for not being able to sell cotton harvests to the government on time. According to the government's quota, the farmers had to sell 50 viss per acre. If they could not do so the authorities threatened them with fines of 5,000 kyat per acre. But, in 2003, the yield was very poor as some crops were destroyed by the late monsoon downpours. The gap between the government's price and the black market price was so vast that many farmers complained that they would be unable to fulfil their quotas. Then the 5 farmers were arrested and were released 3 days later when their families paid the authorities money for their release. (Source: “Farmers Forced to Sell Cotton," DVB, 30 January 2003)
Farmers in trouble
On 19 March 2003, it was reported that farmers in Pwintphyu Township, Magwe Division, Upper Burma were facing many difficulties due to the corruption of the local authorities. At the time, it was the season for farmers to reclaim silted lands on the banks of local rivers, Irrawaddy, Mone and Mann. Traditionally, the villagers divided the lands with an allotment system and grew vegetables. Yet, the chairmen of the local authorities U Khin Maung Toe and U Myint Swe had bought 16 acres of silted land near Madare village and the farmers were facing losses, according to local villagers. Similarly, some silted lands near Zeegone were sold by the local authority chairman, U Win Myint with the excuse of repairing local primary school. The villagers had reported the matters to higher authorities, but there were no actions from them. Farmers who were unable to sell their rice quotas [at the lowest rate] to the government buying centers were forced to pay the local authorities 3,000 kyat as a bribe. The chairman of the local authority, U Kyaw Tint also seized several acres of land on 25 February from a farmer, U Than Tun, who was unable to fulfill his rice quota. Moreover, the authorities forced the local rice mills to remain closed since February because the farmers were still unable to fulfil the sales of rice quotas and the people were facing rice shortage, according to the local people. (Source: "Farmers in Trouble," DVB, 19 March 2003)
Burmese toll bridges levying extravagant tax
On 20 March 2003, it was reported that toll collectors in the southern part of Burma levying unlawful taxes on vehicles passing through their tollgates in order to compensate for their insufficient salaries. According to a local trader, tollgates on bridges at Jaing, Than Lwin, and Sit Tawng along the Myawadi-Rangoon-Kaw Kareit motor were collecting excessive tax beyond the official limits. The official maximum toll at Sit Tawng Bridge was limited to 1,500 kyat per vehicle, yet, drivers were asked for 3,500 to 4,000 kyat. Similarly, the official rate at Than Lwin and Jaing toll bridges was 1,500 kyat per vehicle but lorries were made to pay 8,000 to 15,000 kyat. In addition to this compulsory toll, drivers have to add at least 20,000 kyat at the Thingann Nyi Naung Check Point to pay the DKBA, the Burmese MI, local army personnel, Burmese immigration officers, forest authorities, the USDA, and fire brigade personnel. Other personnel in charge at the tollgates/checkpoints also ask the drivers to provide for their pocket money to buy cigarettes, tea, and other food items. Reportedly, the Myanmar Police Force was complaining about the unlawful tax levying at the tollgates. Due to the excessive tax levies at the gates, many car-drivers were reported to be upset about not being allowed to travel freely and being delayed unnecessarily. (Source: "Burmese Toll Bridges Levying Extravagant Tax," Mizzima, 20 March 2003)
Date of interview: 23 April 2003
Name: Ko Khaing Khaing (not real name)
I returned to my homeland in Mon State on 18 April 2003. I got to Pa'an at 7:00 in the evening and then I paid 100 baht to sleep at the Shwe Aye Myo monastery.
On 18 April 2003, it was the day that I could get a bus to go inside Burma. When I crossed the border on the Burma side, the border committee checked my bags and asked for my ID. After that I passed through the gates into Myawaddy and got a car. The trip cost 3,500 kyat for 1 person. The car departed at 10:00 am and we reached Thein Ka Nyi Naung gates but the gates were closed for a checkpoint. The guards at the gate took things from the travellers. For example, they took cooking oil and other supplies for the home. I saw them take some goods from businessmen as bribes. After they checked our bags they let us continue and we reached Kawkareik at 2:00 in the afternoon. At the Kawkareik gates, there was another checkpoint and we had to stop the car. Each person had to get out of the car one at a time and be check by many people. They asked questions like, "Where are you from? What will you do? Did you come back from Mae Sot?" and they checked our ID cards. If they did not believe someone, they would arrest them. A person who did not have an ID card had to bribe the guards 1,000-5,000 kyat. Then they let us continue on our way.
When I came back to Thailand, we had to give the driver to bribe the guards at every gate. Only DKBA, Pa-o, and NMSP could go for free.
(Source: HRDU, 2003)
Name: Naw Htoo Paw (not real name)
Age: 30 years
Occupation: Field farmer
Number of family: 4 persons
Q: Could you please tell us about the entering and looting by BA troops in your village?
A: On 14 June 2003, the BA troops from LIB 703 led by officer Tun Tun Win entered AAAA village. In the village his soldiers looted 3 packets of smoke and 5 packets of sweet cooking powder (Ajinomoto), and also stole 1 chicken and 1 pyi of rice, which altogether worth 1,000 baht.
Q: Did they do anything on you while attending in your house?
A: When a soldier came into my house he took off his pants. I was afraid of him if he would rape me and then I took up my baby and ran away to the neighboring house.
(Source: Free Burma Rangers, 2003)
Name: Saw Ba Ther (not real name)
Age: 48 years
Village: BBBB village, Pa’an District, Karen State
Number of family: 6 persons
Q: Can you tell us about the entering and looting by BA or DKBA troops in you village?
A: On 12 June 2003 (am), the BA troops entered BBBB village. Because they clashed with KNLA troops and then fined the village headman with 1 pig and 30 chickens. They also took away villagers' 3 pots, 2 machetes, and 7 pyi of rice (1 pyi = 2 Kg) and also looted 3 chickens belonged to Kyaun Tha Mu.
(Source: Free Burma Rangers, 2003)
Name: Saw Paw Yah (not real name)
Age: 33 years
Village: CCCC village, Pa’an District, Karen State
Occupation: hill farmer
Number of family: 6 persons
Q: Have you village ever been oppressed, looted and demanded by BA or DKBA troops?
A: Yes. On 20 July 2003, the DKBA troops led by officer Pah Daw Bo demanded from our village, 1 chicken and 7 tin of rice (1 tin = 16 kg) and also 5 porters to carry their supplies to Htee Per Village.
On 10 June 2003, the BA troop from LIB 703, Column 2 led by Bo Kyi Tun came to the farm huts at CCCC village and looted 2 chickens belonging to Pah Shwer A, as well as Kyaun Ngwe Aye and Kyaun Bu Taw and 1 chicken belonging to Kyaun Pah Pa. They also looted 4 dishes, 3 spoons, and a package of sweet cooking powder (Ajinomoto) belonging to Eh Hser Pu. On the same day they entered CCCC village beat and punched a villager with a gun. After that they called him along with them to Kyauk Ta Lay Kho and released.
(Source: Free Burma Rangers, 2003)
Name: Saw Law Eh (not real name)
Age: 57 years
Village: DDDD village, Pa’an District, Karen State
Occupation: field farmer
Number of family: 10 persons
Q: Can you tell us about BA troops entering, date, and looting in your village?
A: On 17 July 2003 (am), the BA troops from LIB 703 led by Officer Tun Tun Win entered DDDD village and looted a pig belonged to Ma Than Yin as well as 12 chickens in village. They slept there for a night. In the morning when they left, demanded 4 porters to carry their supplies to Klaw Ka Ti. On the same day some troops left behind at the motor road summoned the village headman, Saw Per Hai to come toward them. When he arrived they slapped his face 2 times and forced him to carry supply to Htee Nyar Li Kyo. The troops also slapped a villager Saw Pah Kwa' back neck 2 times when they saw him on the car road. In the evening the troops again entered Kyawk Ta Lay Kho Village and asked Saw Pah Nar Lo to climb and pluck coconut. Because he could not climb, then they beat him 2 times. In village the troops demanded 1 basket of rice and looted from shop, 10 gas lighters, 2 watches, 2 batteries, and 2 packets of dry noodle as well as 1 packet of smoke from village headman's house. On the same day they left for Kho Maw Kee camp.
(Source: Free Burma Rangers, 2003)
Name: Naw Hser Tha (not real name)
Age: 55 years
Village: EEEE village, Pa’an District, Karen State
Occupation: field farmer and salesman
Number of family: 4 persons
Q: Can you tell about the BA troops entering your village and what they were doing?
A: After the BA's troops misfired on each other, they came directly into the village and kicked the villagers. They kicked my face one time and pushed me into a big hole with gun-threats. And again they called me back out.
Q: Can you tell us which base the troops came from?
A: The troops were from LIB 703 and the names of commanders were Major Shwe Win and Tun Tun Win.
Q: What time did they come to your house?
A: They came and searched the house at about 9:00. In my house they looted 44,000 kyat, a bottle of sesame oil, 5 viss of dry fish, 4 viss of fish paste, 1 package of Ajinomoto and 2 machetes. They did not allow us to go back to the house. They said they were searching for weapons, but actually the troop looted belongings. They also accused us of hiding the members of KNU, but they found nothing and no evidence for accusing.
Q: Did the troop loot any else things?
A: They shot a pig dead that belonged to my younger brother for meat that was estimated to be worth over 40,000 kyat. But, I could not say the exact costs of the other belongings. I estimate the calculated costs to be 80,000 – 90,000 kyat. While the troop was entering my house they kicked my back and my children as well. One of the soldiers kicked my chest and the other soldier stepped on my thighs. Because I was afraid of them I did not dare to speak out. I learned that they were ordered to come here for fighting. However, when they arrived here they only practiced oppression, torture, and looted villagers' belongings.
(Source: Free Burma Rangers, 2003)
Name: Naw Mu Paw Loo (not real name)
Age: 45 years
Religion: Buddhist & Animist
Village: EEEE village, Pa’an District, Karen State
Number of family: 8 persons
Q: Can you tell us about what the BA troops did in your village?
A: The BA troops entered the village and asked me to attend my house. They accused that I did not allow them to attend the house and I would cut them with a knife, then they took the ladder away. After that they called the family down to the ground. We had to jump down to the ground due to the ladder having been taken away. When I was on the ground they accused me of being a wife of a Karen resistance member and then they beat me with the gun butt. Soon, after that the village headman arrived and asked the troops why I was beaten. The troops told the village headman that it was because weapons were found in the house and they would be cut with a knife. So, they beat me. The village headman knew I would be beaten more if he asked any more. The troops looted from my house, 13,000 kyat as well as 3 female sarongs, 3 blankets, 3 male sarongs, 2 towels, 1 basket of rice (1 basket = 32 kg), and 2 chickens. All belongings together were worth 50,000 kyat. They threatened the villagers that they would burn down the village if the KNLA attacked during the time they were in the village. They also accused EEEE village of supporting the KNU. They told the villagers to eat or destroy all their belongings. The BA troops often come and demand food from the villagers' farm huts that are located close to the motor road.
(Source: Free Burma Rangers, 2003)
Name: Naw Mu Mu (not real name)
Age: 32 years
Religion: Baptist Christian
Village: EEEE village, Pa’an District, Karen State
Number of family: 1 person
Q: Can you tell us about the BA troop entering and looting in your village?
A: On 15 July 2003, a troop of BA soldiers came to our village and looted from me: 1 towel, 7,300 kyat of schoolchildren's school fees as well as a teacher's (friend of mine) 1 towel, 1 wristwatch, and 1 torchlight.
Q: Can you mention the troop, its base and commanders' name?
A: It was a troop from BA LIB 703 and commanded by Officer Tun Tun Naw and Tun Tun Win. The troops did not loot only from us but they looted the other villagers' cash, jewelry, and belongings also. In the village they shot to death villagers' domestic animals such as chickens, ducks and pigs for meat. Moreover, they tied up the men, then beat and tortured them severely, even the pregnant women they tortured as well.
(Source: Free Burma Rangers, 2003)
5.13 Documents and Orders
Western Division Military Headquarter:
No. (2) Military Strategy Command
Subject: Sending the wood, bamboo and leaves to the military camp:
Confirm with the Chairman to arrange and send the wood, bamboo and leaves as follows, from the village for building the A-nan-kwin military camp. The materials of wood, bamboo and leaves must be sent on 21st January 2003 without failure.
The required materials are;
1. 9 feet length and 45 inches round of wood - (3) poles
2. 6 feet length and 54 inches round of wood - (3) poles
3. 12 feet length and 18 inches round of wood - (10) poles
4. 6 feet length and 18 inches round of wood - (38) poles
5. 2 feet length and 36 inches round of wood - (20) poles
6. 12 feet length and 36 inches round of wood - (10) poles
7. 6 feet long of wood of wrist measurement - (70) poles
8. Leaves for the shelters - (300) sheets
9. Bamboo - (80) poles
Camp in charge
A-nan-kwin military camp
Date: 24 February 2003
Subject: Transporting 500 pieces of roofing to the camp
I am informing you that you must send 500 pieces of roofing in one or two days and you must not be absent.
Date: 20 September 2003
You must send the betel nut and hammocks that Captain Thein Htun asked for immediately.
Note: send one chicken for him as well.
September 21, 2003
Subject: Bring 50 Myo Trees and you will get a package of rice as you asked.
1. In early September, before the 13th, the Chairman disappeared at the Anandway camp football match evening meal. Tomorrow, September 22, 2002, you must come to Anandway camp to get rice and I am letting you know that you must bring 50 Myo trees, measuring 5 Thaung (length of forearm) and 3 Htwa (measure of circumference). You must not come later than the 3rd waning of September.
(Source: KHRIC, 2003)
Table of Contents Facts on Human Rights Violations in Burma 2003