FREE BURMA RANGERS RELIEF MISSION EASTERN SHAN STATE
June 1 - 7, 2003 (also active during May)
This report covers five
rape cases where Burma Army soldiers raped villagers and internally displaced
persons; cases of murdered children and parents; and forced labor, torture
and other human rights violations in the Shan State of Burma.
The relief team visited Lahu refugee villages. Medical care and educational materials were provided. The mission took place in an area where narcotics are sometimes conveyed into Thailand. Significant information on the Burmese drug trade was collected.
The IDP Situation: On April 30th, 2003, the Burma Army and Wa Army combined and conducted a military operation in the area. The Burma Army and Wa Army entered Lahu and Shan villages and killed seven people. One of the seven was a five-year-old child. The troops cut the child into two parts, and then threw her body away. They also cut her mother's neck and killed her too. (For additional info, see the full story at the end of this report.)
The villagers became very afraid and ran away. There are a total of seventeen families from one Lahu village who are now IDPs. The relief team provided medicine and other supplies.
At another location near the Thai border, the relief team assisted other Lahu villagers who have been IDPs since 2002.
Human Rights: In 2001, Burma Army Battalions No. 224, 35 and 309, entered the township of Mai Kun with a plan to enlarge the town. They stole land from the people and sold them small parcels back (one unit for 8000 kyats to 12000 kyats). At Kyintone district and Mai Kun district there are many Lahu, Kachin and Lisu villages. The Burma Army has stolen pigs, chickens, and whatever else they want. Some of the villagers were forced to become porters and were treated brutally. People are also forced to sell their paddy rice.
XXXX, 26 years, married, two children (son and daughter), Akha, farmer
Date of Rape: August 2002
By: Burma Army, 4th Chin rifles
The mother and her daughter were returning from Kyintone Market when they were confronted by at least two Burmese soldiers. The soldiers raped the mother one after the other, while the daughter watched. They then ordered them, "Don't tell anyone."
XXXX, 27 years, divorced, 1 child, Lahu
Date of rape: December 20, 2002
By: LIB 334, Company 3, commanded by Capt. Aung Hkaing
One of the Burmese soldiers in the Company came to the womans house and forced her to go outside the village. He then raped her. As a result of this she had problems in her family and her husband divorced her. She is now at Maiyoung town and is a worker in a restaurant.
XXXX, 19 years, Lahu, student
Date of rape: December 27, 2002
By: Ye Lwin, Maicune Unit
A widowed mother and her daughter went to cut wood in the forest. Burma Army soldiers, Saw Lwin and his friend, saw them and raped the daughter in front of her mother one after the other. XXXX was an 8 standard pupil. Now she is very depressed and has become a mental patient. Her mother told the relief team what happened with tears and a broken heart.
XXXX, 18 years, Lahu, student
Date of rape: January 15, 2003
By: Myint Naing, Mine Pyin Riflemen
XXXX went to her school early in the morning by bicycle. When she arrived at the checkpoint of Mine Pyin, a soldier of the Burma Army, Myint Naing, raped her at the tent by the gate. She was a 10th standard high school student but cannot go to school now because of the rape.
XXXX, 15 years, Lahu, student
Date of rape: February 5, 2003
By: Mine Pyin Riflemen
When XXXX's mother and brother went to the fields, 20 Burmese soldiers came to XXXXs village and then left in the evening. But when her mother and brother came home they did not see her. When they found her she was dead. They found her body in the barn. She had been raped and murdered by the visiting Burma Army troops.
Other Abusive Practices:
- At Kyinetone district there are many Chinese who have come for business. They are given special privileges. In the factory the staff members are Chinese but the local workers are Shan and are not promoted. Here the Wa Army gives Wa soldiers a car and money and makes some of them look like officers. This results in Shan girls agreeing to marry them, then the Wa army takes the car and money and the Wa soldiers revert to being privates and rifleman and the untrue marriages are exposed. When the Shan girls want to leave they are forced to stay.
- At Mine Has, Mine Tone, Tachilek, and Mine Pya gates the army never give permits to women under 25 years old. But rich families are exempted and their girls and the army children can go with a special card. Burmese female workers have to pay 50,000 kyats to a driver to enter Thailand. The women in our country have no freedom.
- In Eastern Shan State many towns celebrate the water festival. School, college and department store girls are forced to dance and practice before the festival. They are forced to do things they do not want to do. They have no freedom for the New Year Festival and they must also entertain Burma Army officers as they like.
- Now many towns of Shan state have opened Karaoke bars, restaurants and brothels. These are places where people can earn money easily and they sell their bodies for money. So, the girls who work in these places get HIV and AIDS. Maybe 65% of the workers have AIDS and the future seems very dangerous.
Mine Hsa army Battalion No. 49
Mine Tone army " No. 65
Mine Tone army " No. 519
These units force people to porter and now they are preparing to make war with the SSA and other resistance armies. At Mine Tone many cars and motorcycles are confiscated for temporary transport work in support of the Burma Army. On May 28th, 2003 we heard the explosion of the big guns - 120mm mortars from the town of Pinlon.
On May 4 to 7, at Mine Tone, Burma Army Bn No. 65 had 13 big guns - 120mm. One of the Burma Army soldiers told the villagers that the big guns can fire three days (walk) distant and hit the right target. They put the big guns at Mine Han base. When they move the big guns the soldiers do not wear Burmese uniforms but instead wear guerrilla resistance uniforms.
SPDC Activities at the Thai Border: The SPDC uses Wa Army BN 894 (commander name "Tha Mark") to make war with the Thai army and to kidnap Thai villagers. The local commander of the Burmese forces at Mine Tone base has control of these operations.
Religious Persecution:From 2000 unto the present in the Eastern Shan States, the SPDC has persecuted the Lahu Christian people. They are not allowed to build new churches and cannot rebuild their old churches.
May, 5, 2003, XXXX, 35 years, farmer
On November 3, 2002, Burma Army local commander, Aye Kyaw, gave the order for villagers to carry two baskets of corn each per family. They were also forced to carry wood for the Burma Army and do any labor demanded, including laying bricks and stone for roads and to help make new roads without any payment. Sometimes the villagers have accidents and injuries such as broken legs. They do not receive medicine and if they cannot work they have to pay a fine of 500 Kyats to 1000 Kyats.
Thirty-five patients were treated during the mission. Most common cases included malaria, diarrhea, anemia, hepatitis, tuberculosis, HIV, and eye problems.
Other SPDC Activities:
Villagers forced to be Wa soldiers by the SPDC and UWSA
On June 5, 2003, Tak Mar (UWSA-171, based in NaKawngMu village, Mongton Township) and Col Soe Thiang (Burma Army) made an agreement and ordered the villagers as follows. They ordered young boys (above 15 years old) who are living in Mongton areas to enter the UWSA. They want 4,000 people to become Wa soldiers. They are forcibly collecting the villagers. The Wa army said they will be commandos for the UWSA and SPDC. Thus, the villagers now worry about being forced to join the army.
In a similar instance, UWSA forcibly collected villagers to become UWSA soldiers from Hon Par village, Mong Hsat Township. There are 140 families living there. They moved from Lashio, Northern Shan State.
Khin Nyunt sold the Mongton Areas to the UWSA for USD 2 Million
On March 5, 2003, UWSA 171 forcibly occupied 42 houses and paddy lands (1000 EK) at Nam Yoom village, Mongton Township. The villagers requested payment for the houses and paddy lands. The UWSA paid only 100,000 baht for all the houses and paddy lands. The Wa Army said, we already bought that land from Khin Nyunt, so we do not need to pay for it again. Within the last year, Khin Nyunt (GS-1) sold the Mongton areas to the UWSA for USD 2 million. None of the villagers were satisfied with that, but they could not do anything to the UWSA. The Wa Army started building and living in the village. Thus, most of the villagers fled to Mongton and Mong Ssat areas because the Wa Army did not allow them to stay. The Wa Army said, if the villagers want to live in the village, they must enter the UWSA. Nam Yoom village is near the Thai-Burma border, near BP-1, and it is a good place to trade, especially drugs. So, the UWSA wanted very much to have that village under their control.
Burma Army shot and killed villagers (including two children) in NaKawngMu village
On May 18, 2003, the Shan State Army (SSA) shot at the Burma Army based in Mong Ham, Mongton area. Then, the Burma Army accused the SSA and villagers of staying together in NaKawngMu village. After the accusation, the Burma Army shot at NaKawngMu village with a MM-81 mortar. Some houses were destroyed and 2 children (the girl was about 8 years old and the boy was about 14 years old) were hit by the shots and died. Some other villagers were injured. Some villagers fled to Mong Hsat, Mongton and Tachilek. Now, the UWSA are living in NaKawngMu village.
The Burma Army are producers of Heroin and Yaba Pills
On February 1, 2003, the Burma Army IB-226 and LIB-224 established a heroin factory based in Loi Mwe Township. The factory is located 2 kilometers from the army base. They are manufacturing heroin and methamphetamines. After manufacturing the drugs, they carry them from Loi Mwe to Nat Lin Taung village, Mong Pyat Township, Tachilek and Laos. They get raw materials to produce heroin and yaba from the Chinese-Kokang.
The Burma Army seize heroin and yaba and then resell the drugs
On April 24, 2003, LawShinMe, Kokang (who is LawShinHan's younger brother) and Col Kyaw Than (Burma Army) combined forces and manufactured heroin and yaba pills. The Burma military intelligence 24, based in Mongton and special Burma Army police troops occupied the factory and seized the following items:
1. A Thai Bank Account
2. Methamphetamine, 70 units
3. Opium, 200 vis (1 kilogram=0.6 vis)
4. Heroin, 120 kilograms
6. Gold, 4 vis
7. Houses, 22
8. Arrested, 18 people.
9. Leader, Sai Yi, Hla Aung
Then, Col Soe Thiang took the heroin and yaba and sold it to buyers in the Fang Area of northern Thailand.
On January 1, 2003, the Burma Army and the Chinese-Kokang combined forces and set up a factory to produce heroin and yaba in Mong Zin village, Keng Tun Township (beside the Keng Tun - Tachilek road). They manufactured heroin and yaba, and then sold it to buyers in Tachilek, Mong Hsat, Mongton, NaKawngMu and Thailand.
Khun Nyut lies to the world
On May 15, 2003, when Khin Nyunt (GS-1) came to Shan State, he went to Hopan agriculture gardens in Tachilek and Mong Hsat. He took photographs with a video camera. Using this footage he then announced that the SPDC is promoting agriculture and livestock in order to develop the province. Khin Nyut lied to the world.
The Burma Army forcibly occupies villagers' farms and forced relocation
On May 29, 2003, the Burma Army LIB-333 forcibly occupied villagers' farms in Nao Pha village, Mong Hsat Township. The villagers had planted mango trees. After the Burma Army occupied the farms, if the villagers wanted to eat mango, the soldiers forced them to pay 300 kyat for each mango. In August 1987, the same village was forced to relocate by the Burma Army. The Burma Army soldiers stole the villagers' pigs, chickens, cows, buffalo, vegetables and other possessions whenever they felt like it.
On April 30, 2003, the commanding officer of Burma Army LIB-65, based in Mong Hsat, took forced laborers to repair the Mong Hsat airport, from the following areas:
1. Kyar Deh
2. Mong Nin
3. Moe Saw
4. Mae Sak
5. Mae Sat Tao
The Burma Army forced one person from each family to come and repair the Mong Hsat airport. If villagers could not come to repair the airport, the Burma Army fined 5,000 kyat for each family. When the villagers could not pay that amount they had to stay in the police station (a pig sty) for 3 days. Later, they were forced to labor by the police. They had to work cleaning the police compound and building a fence around it.
The Burma Army allows production of Yaba and Heroin
On June 4, 2003, the Burma Army LI-519, LIB-65 and Col Soe Thiang said to the villagers, If you want to manufacture yaba or heroin, you should buy arms. After that you can make an agreement and surrender to us. Then you can set up factories and manufacture drugs as you like. (He was suggesting that the villagers form their own military organization, as a false front of resistance, and then sign a ceasefire with the UWSA.)
A Brief History of Colonel Kyar Law Bon (UWSA-171), and drug problems in Mongton Area
Name: Kyar Law Bon
Age: About 50 yrs old.
Native village: Mong Sheh village, Mong Paing Township.
Entered the UWSA: 1978.
Current Position: Colonel (or) Brigade Commander of UWSA 171.
- Deputy of and Wei Hsuik Kang's business coordinator in southern part
- Manufacturer of heroin and methamphetamines
- Ruler of Wa military and the locality
Kyar Law Bon combined forces with Aik Tun, Tak Mar, Yang Day, Aik Lon and Pi Kwet ( or ) Kyar Bon Shin (or) Khin Maung Thiang in order to levy taxes from opium merchants and heroin manufacturers who are in their areas. They focused especially on Doi Lang or Loi Lang, Nong Than Line, BP 1, Loi Htwe, Mong Jawd, and Khiang Lon areas.
When he can get the raw materials to produced heroin and methamphetamines, he manufactures and sells those drugs. He commands his armed troops but also is a manufacturer and seller of drugs. He collects taxes from other groups and his group also manufactures heroin. His group forcibly occupied a heroin factory. The factory owners already paid taxes and received a permit from Kyar Law Bon. After he attacked and occupied that factory, he declared he was dismayed by its operations. He was trying to show that he opposes narcotics, when he is actually one of the leading drug lords.
Then Kyar Law Bon made an agreement with San Yin who is Chinese - Kokang. They set up a heroin factory near Mong Jawd village, Mong Tong Township. After three months of manufacturing (and 3 days before finishing the job), Kyar Law Bon took 300 soldiers serving in the UWSA-171 and attacked and occupied the factory. They accused Kya Nu (the Lahu militia leader) from Mong Jawd village of doing this. They burnt the whole Lahu village. Seven villagers (included 2 women and a child) were killed by the UWSA. They cut the body of the child (about 5 years old) and her mother was cut on her neck by the soldiers' knives. Following is a list of those who died in this attack.
Name, Age, Sex, Marital Status, Children
1. Shin Mon, 27, male, married, 2
2. Kyar Ui Sheh, 35, male, married, 2
3. Kyar Ye, 19, male, single
4. Kyar Day, 27, male, married, 1
5. Kyar Ui Sheh's wife, 33, female, married, 2
6. Lu Me, 30, female, married, 2
7. Kyar Ui Sheh's child, 5, female
Later, the UWSA troops took 41 people (including women and children) and turned them over to the Burma Army military intelligence - 24, based in Tachilek. After releasing some of the villagers, 9 people were put in Keng Tun prison. Then the Wa Army declared they could attack with success any heroin factory in the world. Kyar Law Bon and his companions' names and addresses are as follows:
1. Kya Law Bon, Colonel of UWSA-171. He lives in Hwe Aw village and Khai Lon village, Mongton Township.
2. Aik Tun, Commanding officer of UWSA-103. He lives in Mong Jawd village, Mongton Township.
3. Tak Mar, Commanding officer of UWSA-107. He lives in Khai Lon village, Mongton Township.
4. Yang Day. He lives in Kyar Deh village, Mong Hsat Township.
5. Aik Lon, Lahu militia leader. He lives in Mong Hsat (near Airport).
6. Pi Kwet (or) Kyar Bon Shin (or) Khin Maung Thiang. He is a Lahu militia leader of NaKawngMu village. He lives in Hwe Aw village, Mongton Township. He has a Thai Citizen Card.
They have combined their forces and act as security for opium merchants and methamphetamine manufacturers in Mong Hsat, Mongton and along the Thai-Burma border. They also buy and sell drugs.
This group assists Wei Hsuek Kang and has seven hundred in their combined military forces. Wei Hsuek Kang was commander of a military region at southern part of Eastern Shan state. He disappeared in 2001. Wei Hsuek Kang appointed Kya Law Bon to take responsibility for his place (Southern Part). Kya Law Bon chose the people he needed to complete his troop force. Then, he established a group to manufacture and sell drugs. Most of the heroin and methamphetamines from this group go into Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Song districts.
This group is supported and protected by the Burma Army Infantry Battalion (IB) 65, light Infantry battalion (LIB) 519 based in Mongton, and IB-49, LIB-333 based in Mong Hsat.