Weekly Update: 085

by mohingamatters

Internal Politics

  • Obo Prison allows family visit

After prohibiting family visits for prisoners in Obo Prison for a long time, the prison management announced that in-person family visit will be allowed starting October 24 at the prison. Initially, family visit was prohibited due to the Covid-19 restrictions, but now it has been lifted but those who wish to visit their family members are required to provide six documents including proof of vaccination for two times, a proof from ward administration office and police stations that visitors are free from criminal activities. This further causes complications and risks for family members of political prisoners. One of the family members raised their concerns to Myanmar Now news about their insecurity about providing their personal information because the military council has arrested family members of political prisoners and activists before. Despite lifting the prohibition, the family remains wary and insecure about the visits.

  • The regime refused to renew passport for workers abroad unless they pay tax

The embassies under the control of Myanmar military announced that passports will only be renewed if Myanmar workers and seamen have paid taxes to the government. Some Myanmar embassies issued an announcement that Myanmar citizens who hold passport for job (PJ) and passport for seamen (PS) are required to submit a statement to support that taxes have been paid when they renew their passports. Some embassies will also provide a service to pay such taxes at the embassy while renewing passport. This announcement came after last month’s announcement of double taxation on Myanmar migrant workers. Myanmar workers abroad said that this was a robbery from them and could potentially lead to losing their jobs abroad.

  • University and college students to receive military training 

About 500 students who are enrolled at universities and colleges for the Development of the National Races of the Union from Sagaing and Yangon are ordered to receive military training. These universities are under the supervision of the Ministry of Border Affairs, and on October 6, the ministry informed the Ministry of Defense about the military training which will last for one month. The letter also requested the Ministry of Defense to arrange the training in one of the military’s bases nearby for security reasons. Students from universities will not receive the training on usage of small weapons but college students will. CDM Captain Tun Myat Aung commented that while basic training such as parading was normal but it is abnormal when the weapons involved.

International Affairs

  • The regime rejected ASEAN’s statement on Mong Lai Hket

Following the Mong Lai Hket incident, ASEAN issued a statement on October 17 condemning the military council for attacking the civilians with bombs. The attack killed 28 civilians including 10 children and injured 57 civilians. A military base of the Arakan Army (AA) was also affected, one of its soldiers died and ten injured. The military council immediately rejected the ASEAN’s statement for calling it “a bomb attack” since it has argued that the incident was caused due to the explosion of ammunition storage facilities by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). On October 19, the military council’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote a lengthy statement objecting that the wrong information in ASEAN’s statement and said it was unnecessary.

  • A German company was investigated for its support to the Myanmar military 

The German state prosecutor’s office of Ravensburg launched a criminal investigation into ND SatCom GmbH for its association with the Myanmar military. According to Justice for Myanmar’s statement, German Solidarity with Myanmar Democracy e.V group filed a complaint with evidence that the German satellite company provided technical support to the Myanmar military since 2016. As recently as October 2021, ND SatCom’s equipment were shipped to the military’s Directorate of Procurement via Vietnam. Justice for Myanmar called on German legal authorities to take swift action against ND SatCom as the satellite communication is essential for military command and control, in a time where its troops are committing atrocities across the country.

Business Matters

  • Scam App KLFB defrauds money from villagers and monks in Myanmar

In Myanmar, an online game app named KLFB has scammed money from villagers, citizens, and even monks by luring them to bet on soccer matches with promises of guaranteed wins. As people saw profits, including monks, they invested large sums. The leader, Jack Wilson, pressured users through Telegram, and some had trouble withdrawing their funds. The app only accepted deposits and withdrawals through KBZ accounts, leading to suspicions about KBZ Bank’s involvement. This scam primarily targeted rural and grassroots communities.

  • Myanmar mandates passport tax for expatriate workers and sailors

Myanmar’s military council, under Min Aung Hlaing’s directives, now requires expatriate workers and sailors to pay taxes to renew their passports. This policy, effective from September 1, applies to various passport types and is enforced in different regions, including Yangon. To renew their passports, workers and sailors must obtain a tax exemption certificate from the Department of Internal Revenue. Failure to comply can result in a 3-year ban on working abroad. This policy aims to compel Burmese expatriates to remit their earnings back to the country.

  • Electricity shortages and business struggles in Karen State, Myanmar

In Karen State, Myanmar, severe electricity shortages, with only one hour of power supply in Hpa An, are creating significant challenges for private businesses. Since the military coup, the country has experienced irregular electricity distribution, causing difficulties for various sectors. Business owners, including restaurants and beauty shops, are particularly affected. They must invest in generators due to unreliable electricity, resulting in financial losses due to high fuel costs. Consequently, many are avoiding electricity-dependent operations. The political instability in Myanmar has exacerbated power shortages and increased fuel prices. Rising commodity costs have forced several factories, including those in the Hpa An industrial zone, to cease operations, leading to job losses. As a result, entrepreneurs are adapting to self-employment to navigate these challenging conditions.

Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties

  • Military dalan shot dead in Paukkaung tsp, Bago Region

At approximately 9 pm on October 18, a military conspirator, Hla Wai, became the target in Paukkaung Township, Bago Region. Hla Wai was discovered to be providing information about the People’s Defense Force (PDF) locations to the military forces. Rangers from PDF Unit 3602 conducted a raid on his residence in Thayettapin Village, Ayardaw Village Tract, and he was fatally shot four times, while his family members remained unharmed. Similarly, on September 7, a former military captain and informer, Than Win, met a similar fate as he was shot to death in Paukkaung Township.

  • Security force guarding MEB attacked in Shwebo, Sagaing Region

On the morning of October 18, local resistance forces launched an offensive against regime soldiers stationed in front of the Myanma Economic Bank (MEB) in Shwebo Town, Sagaing Region. The rangers fired two rockets toward the security gate, with one of them hitting the building and potentially causing casualties, including a possible fatality. Subsequently, the soldiers secured the area and initiated a thorough investigation following the incident. The resistance forces managed to retreat successfully from the scene.

  • Ward administrator shot dead in Mahaaungmyay tsp, Mandalay

On October 18, in Maharaungmyay Township, Mandalay, a hundred household ward administrator appointed by the junta was fatally shot. The 50-year-old U Than Min was targeted and killed with two shots to the head while he was in a teashop near the night market on 41st Street. The Generation Z Power (GZP) claimed responsibility for the attack and alleged that the man had been collaborating with regime soldiers to suppress the local population. GZP also stated that U Than Min knew the reasons for his elimination due to his involvement in various crimes. Subsequently, regime forces arrived at the scene and arrested at least five civilians.

Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence

  • Social welfare worker tortured to death in Tanintharyi tsp, Tanintharyi Region

On September 30, regime soldiers detained a 29-year-old social volunteer named Ko Aung Naing Kyaw in Tanintharyi Township, Tanintharyi Region. He had been returning to his village after transporting a patient to Myeik Hospital. Two weeks later, on October 18, his family was contacted by the military to collect his lifeless body at Tanintharyi Public Hospital. Tragically, Ko Aung Naing Kyaw’s body exhibited distressing signs of torture, including missing teeth and broken ankles.

  • Former KIO official detained by the regime in Banmaw tsp, Kachin State

On October 17, the regime’s forces apprehended U Dashiladwal, the former officer of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), along with his wife, from their residence in Nyaungpin Ward, Banmaw Town, Kachin State. The following day, soldiers returned to the house and unlawfully seized his belongings before ultimately setting the house ablaze. The explosion resulting from the fire also caused damage to a few neighboring households. U Dashiladwal had previously served as the administrative officer of the KIA, although he had been retired for an extended period, making his arrest a perplexing occurrence. Additionally, on October 18, the regime sealed off a residence in Sinkone Ward in Banmaw Township, citing reasons related to the People’s Defense Force (PDF).

  • Teenager killed by the regime’s artillery in Hpakant tsp, Kachin State

On the evening of October 18, an artillery attack by regime soldiers led to one fatality and one injury in Hpakant Township, Kachin State. A 12-year-old girl named Ma Thet Sun Mon sustained severe wounds and tragically passed away while en route to the hospital, and a 50-year-old woman was also injured. The regime has denied responsibility for this indiscriminate artillery fire.

  • Civilian murdered by regime soldiers in Yinmabin tsp, Sagaing Region

On October 18, regime soldiers perpetrated a brutal murder in Larboh Village, Yinmabin Township, Sagaing Region, and subsequently arrested two other villagers to use as human shields. Approximately 200 troops conducted a raid in the village, and as they departed, a lifeless body was discovered. In addition, they took two men as hostages. Notably, this same military unit was responsible for the killing of six individuals in Thaekone Village on October 16.

  • Seven youths given double life sentence in Pyapon tsp, Ayeyarwaddy Region

Seven out of 19 youths who were arrested in Yangon in August, 2022 were given capital punishment by the regime military court in Pyapon Township, Ayeyawaddy Region this week. The victims are San Lin San, Ko Tun Tun Oo, Ko Thura Phyo, Ko Kyaw San oo, Ko Ko Aung, Ko Aung Moe Myint, Ko Wunna Tun and they were charged with the sedition acts 302A&B. All of them have been transported to Pathein Prison from Pyapon Prison.

Armed Resistance

  • Dozens of SAC soldiers died during battle in Ye tsp, Mon State

On October 20, two separate battles occurred between the regime’s forces and the resistance forces in Ye Township, Mon State, leading to multiple casualties on the junta’s side, with nearly 40 soldiers losing their lives. The first skirmish unfolded on Ye Bridge at approximately 6:45 am. During the hour-long clash, 18 regime soldiers were killed, and an additional 27 perished as they retreated from the battlefield. Additionally, around 18 firearms were seized by the resistance forces, who also suffered 18 inuries, 3 of them severe. The operation was coordinated by the Ye Guerilla Force (YGF), Mon State Revolution Force (MSRF), and the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) on the people’s side.

  • Clash saw one ranger death and one civilian death in Sagaing tsp, Sagaing Region

On October 18, the regime’s forces clashed with the resistance forces in Kyawzeya Village, Sagaing Township, Sagaing Region. The battle began as about 80 men made up of SAC soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee members entered the village and ran into the resistance rangers. In the clash, 23-year-old Ranger Maung Gyi and a 50-year-old civilian U Min Swe died of bullet wounds. In addition to casualties, the soldiers also burned down eight houses. Casualties from the regime’s side remain unknown.

  • A dozen soldiers died during two battles in Phyuu tsp, Bago Region

On October 19 and 20, a coalition of local resistance forces carried out an offensive against regime reinforcements using drones in Phyu Township, Bago Region. On the first day, approximately 40 regime soldiers came under attack from the sky as they entered Layeainsu Village, where at least four of them lost their lives. On the following day, the regime’s station situated on Sittaung Bridge faced a similar assault, resulting in seven fatalities and four injuries. The regime’s forces had planned an offensive but instead encountered an ambush.

  • KIA officials killed during the regime’s airstrike in Hpakant tsp, Kachin State

On the evening of October 15, the regime carried out an airstrike on the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) headquarters and Anangpa Village in Hpakant Township, Kachin State. A total of five aerial attacks were documented, accompanied by artillery fire on the ground directed at the KIA Brigade 9 headquarters. These attacks resulted in the deaths of three KIA officials and left ten others injured.

Sources: Myanmar Now, Khit Thit News, Mizzima News, RFA Burmese, Ayeyarwaddy Times

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