Burma Army stops Dawei smugglers

Since the beginning of October the Burma military has started a major crack down on motorbike smugglers crossing over from Thailand.

Burma Army officials in the Dawei area of Tanintharyi Division have been arresting and stopping all smuggling and possession of unlicensed motorbikes brought from Thailand since the beginning of the month.

Sources close to Thai army told Karen News that Burmese officials are doing this because Thai authorities asked for cooperation in tackling the increasing problem of motorbikes been stolen in the Thai border town of Kanchanaburi.

“Before, whether legal or illegal, motorbikes were being smuggled across the border. Now, the situation is different. Authorities have blocked all the routes and are arresting the smugglers. Money can’t be paid to get around it. No motorbike can now be brought in either illegally or legally.”

The Burmese authorities have blocked all the smuggling routes from Thabyu Chaung village to areas along the Asia Highway in Metta sub-township. The Karen National Liberation Army 4th Brigade caught three members of a gang with five stolen motorbikes in their possession. The KNLA, later handed the gang over to the Thai authorities.

Before the recent cooperation with the Thai authorities to stop the smuggling of motorbikes, the Burma military benefitted from the cross border motorbike trade. The Burma Army Tactical #2 Commander, Colonel Zaw Lwin Htay had set up a ‘tax gate’ at Hsin Phyu Daing village and the Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 595 Commander, Major Aung Kyaw and Captain Thant Zin Oo had set up a ‘tax gate’ at Aing Wine camp where taxes were collected from the smugglers of illegal and stolen motorbikes.

Local residents said the ‘tax gates’ were not official, but a means for the military to raise revenue. Depending on the type and brand of motorbike, the army officers charged from 500 to 1,000 baht a bike.

Residents said that since people could get away with smuggling by paying some money to the army, there was a constant stream of illegal and stolen motorbikes coming across the border.

A local resident who asked not to be named told Karen News.

“Almost every motorbike in this area was brought in illegally. Before, people could pay money and smuggle them in. The problems got bigger and bigger, but now they [authorities] are trying to bring it under control.”

In the recent past, people who wanted to buy a motorbike from Thailand would pay 4,000 to 5,000 baht for ‘carrier’ to bring in a motorbike.

This is the first time the government has attempted to stop the cross border smuggling.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button