Villagers living along the Dawei to Kanchanaburi road, in Southern Burma accused the Burma Army of illegally extorting money from them and for driving their motorbikes.
Saw Eh, a local villager told Karen News.
“From Mae Tha Mee Kee on the Thai-Burma border to Myitta village there are many Burma Army checkpoints that collect money from people going to and from Thailand – they also ‘tax’ our motor bikes that we bring from Thailand.”
Mae Tha Mee Kee is an official Burmese government immigration checkpoint on the Thai-Burma border opposite Thailand’s Pu Nam Ron village, Kanchanaburi province.
Saw Eh said the Burma Army checkpoints are not legal immigration and are just a method of extorting money from villagers.
“Only the Mae Tha Mee Kee immigration gate is official all the other checkpoints are not legal. We know it is Burma Army officers and soldiers at the outposts, wearing plain clothes, who are collecting
money on the road from travelers and motorbikes.”
Villagers say the army is not alone in extorting money off travelers.
“In Myitta village alone, various groups of Burmese officials have set up a post in front of the bridge constructed by the Italian-Thai Development Company. There are six different Burmese authorities at
the post in front of the bridge collecting money. The Myitta village authority collects money for their village fund, the Myitta immigration are there, there are Myitta sub-township officers, two Burma Army Military Intelligence units and officers from the regular Burma Army.”
Villagers told Karen News that government soldiers are also based along the car road at Kwe Waw Wah (Aing Wai) and Ka Saw Wah (Wa Daw).
“Any person who is going to Thailand or coming back has to pay at least 150,000 Kyat (200 baht) if a motor bike is brought from Thailand the fee is 500 baht.”
The Dawei-Kanchanaburi road was constructed by the Italian-Thai Development Company to link the Dawei Industrial Zone and Deep Sea Port to Thailand’s Kanchanaburi Province.