Civilian beaten by Burmese soldier in Mong Khark

A man was hospitalized in eastern Shan State’s Mong Khark Township after he was beaten by a Burmese soldier at a checkpoint last Monday [March 6], according to a local source.

The incident happened at Nam Moi Ahkhue, a Burmese military checkpoint, the source told Shan Herald on condition of anonymity because of his fears of retribution. The victim has been identified as Sai Yi, a Mong Noong villager, who was passing through the checkpoint when the soldier on patrol, identified as Lieutenant Sithu, stopped him. Apparently, because he could not understand the lieutenant’s language – Burmese – the soldier beat him.

Sai Yi was taken to the hospital in Mong Khark, the source said.

Consisting of no more than 200 households, Mong Noong is located 20 miles west of Mong Khark Township, which is in Kengtung District.

“The Burmese armed forces set up two checkpoints between Mong Noong and Mong Kar village, which lie just 12 miles from each other,” said Nang Ai Keng Kham, a resident in Mong Khark. “People have to pay them money to pass through the checkpoint. For a motorbike, we have to pay 1,000 kyat (US$0.75) and for a car we must pay 5,000 kyat.

“If people do not speak nicely with them, they get beaten up,” she said. “It’s very difficult to travel in this area. Sometimes, we are too afraid to pass there.

“People in this area are farmers. We only rely on local crops,” she added. “Right now, there is a temple festival in Mong Noong, and villagers go there to sell their wares. But the Burmese soldiers at the checkpoint always ask for money. It distresses us.”

There are regular reports of human rights violations against civilians perpetuated by Burmese troops across Shan State. On December 7, Shan Herald reported that three villagers from Mong Yen in Lashio Township were beaten and another was shot by Burmese soldiers for no reason.

Many incidents are either not reported or the soldiers involved are invariably not brought to justice.

“Members of the [Burmese] security forces continued to violate human rights with near-total impunity. Investigations into human rights violations by the security forces were rare, and when they did occur they lacked transparency and independence,” said a 2015-16 Amnesty International annual report.