BurmaNet News: December 20 2002
editor at burmanet.org
editor at burmanet.org
Fri Dec 20 12:55:38 EST 2002
December 20 2002 Issue #2144
NYT: Myanmar: Backers of opposition harassed
Narinjara: Rohingya rapist murderers nabbed: one absconding
Myanmar Times: Corporate governance, transparency essential
AFP: Myanmar delays verdict on Ne Wins relatives death sentences
DVB: Democracy League supporters stopped from meeting Suu Kyi
DVB: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Minbu
TV Myanmar: Burmese leader rejects slanderous accusations of religious
Guardian: Burma rallies for Suu Kyi
AFP: Thai police seize 22 kilos of heroin on Myanmar border
Mizzima: Indian airlines connects Bangkok and Gaya
ON THE BORDER
Irrawaddy: Thais arrested by DKBA
New York Times December 20 2002
Myanmar: Backers Of Opposition Harassed
By Seth Mydans
For the first time since she was released from house arrest in May,
supporters of the pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, were
harassed by the military on one of the out-of-town trips she has been
allowed to make, according to party members. Instead of the enthusiastic
crowds that have greeted her on four previous trips, they said, Ms. Aung
San Suu Kyi found the streets empty when she arrived in Maruk Oo, about
300 miles from the capital. The next day the police ordered a crowd of
about 20,000 to disperse.
Narinjara News December 20 2002
Rohingya rapist murderers nabbed: one absconding
Three of the four Muslim Rohingya fishermen rapists who killed two Rakhine
mother and daughter after rape in the second week of November in the mouth
of the Kaladan River have been nabbed in the first week of December,
according to our correspondent from Sittwe. As the authority has imposed a
news blackout on the incidence there have been many speculations and
dissatisfaction among the Buddhist and Muslim communities in the capital
of Rakhine State in the western part of Burma. A tense situation still
prevails among the townsmen and the rumour resulting from the news
black-out is spreading to other towns and villages in the state.
The leader of the group of four was arrested from a tea shop at Nazirwa
village, Rohingya quarter of Sittwe. Acting on a tip-off the officer in
charge of Police Station No.2 nabbed him while he was planning to flee to
Bangladesh. Two other accomplices were later arrested by the Police
Station No.2. According to sources in the police department, they were
preparing to escape to Bangladesh in a hired motorboat owned by a
Rohingya. The owner of the boat, a Rohingya informer of the Military
Intelligence has also been on the run since the seizure of the boat.
According to the confession given by the three arrested to the police,
four of the fishermen attacked the broken down engine boat where the two
Rakhine women and two Rakhine boatmen were aboard. While two of them raped
the two women the other two boatmen attacked with knife and one of the two
boatmen was able to jump into the river. After rape, the four Rohingya
Muslim fishermen looted all the gold ornaments belonging to the women and
then stabbed the women in the breasts and their genitalia and threw them
into the water. The confession given by the three arrested rapist
murderers to the police testified to the post mortem report of the
recovered two bodies, the source told our correspondent. Later the rapists
sank the boat to remove any testimony. The leader of the gang of the four
Rohingya rapists was released from prison just two months ago he was
sentenced on charges of murder.
One boatman was later picked up by another passing boat and was admitted
into the Sittwe State Hospital. The incident was taken up seriously and a
nighttime curfew was imposed in the state capital. Meanwhile as soon as
the annual examinations of the first and second year examinations were
taken, the distance education college students were forced to pack up and
go back home on eleven motor launches and thirty buses the same day, the
26th November. Though the students were reluctant to go back to their
respective homes as there was a storm warning that day, the military and
police ordered the students to vacant the student halls immediately.
The news black-out imposed about the incident and the way the students
were hastily sent home has given birth to speculations and till now the
general people have not stopped to blow the matter out of proportions.
Discontent especially among the Rakhine community runs deep, which may
turn violent at any moment, our correspondent added. But some of the
leaders of the Rakhine community have been trying to make people
understand by telling them not to act on any rumours or exaggerations
resulting from the news black-out and tactless handling of the matter.
Myanmar Times December 9-15 2002
Corporate governance, transparency essential
By Kimberly Fielding
TRANSPARENCY and effective corporate governance are essential for
protecting investors and encouraging the flow of capital, a
Singapore-based Australian lawyer said in Yangon last week. Mr John
Miller, the head of the Singapore branch of the international Association
of Chartered Certified Accountants, was addressing a talk at the British
Council titled Accountants in tears the World after Enron. The talk
touched on the global implications of the debacle earlier this year
involving the collapse of Enron, the biggest energy company in the United
States. A combination of bad corporate governance, a conflict on the part
of Enrons supposedly independent auditor, Arthur Anderson, and the
incompetence of overlapping bureaucracies contributed to the failure of
the company and sent shock waves through the global business community and
the accountancy profession. Mr Miller, who is also in charge of new market
(Asean) development for the ACCA, said it would be hard to say whether the
scandal had any implications for the accountancy industry in Myanmar
because the profession was still in the early stages of development. He
welcomed moves by Asean to harmonise the widely varying standards of
corporate governance of its member countries. Mr Miller said he hoped the
developing accountancy institutions in Myanmar would take a lead in
setting professional standards. It was also important that an awareness of
the economic necessity of transparency and corporate governance would soon
permeate Myanmars business community, he said. The next presentation in
the British Councils new Talkback series, Patients as Consumers of
Medical Science, will begin at 6pm on Thursday, December 12.
Agence France-Presse December 20 2002
Myanmar delays verdict on Ne Win's relatives' death sentences
The fate of four relatives of Myanmar strongman Ne Win, who were sentenced
to death for plotting a coup, continues to hang in the balance with their
appeal delayed since the death of their patriarch.
The son-in-law and three grandsons of the former dictator were sentenced
to death by hanging in September, after being arrested in March on charges
of attempting to involve sections of the army in their plan to seize
On November 12 Myanmar's Supreme Court heard their appeal, and said it
would hand down a verdict within three weeks. But on December 5 Ne Win
died at his Yangon home where he had been held under house arrest since
March along with his favoured daughter, Sandar Win.
Since then diplomats and the media have been scouring the court's daily
lists for an indication that the appeal verdict is to be released.
"This is not an ordinary case so they will want to take more time over
it," a court official admitted to AFP.
Although some analysts believed Ne Win's death would give the government a
free hand to take action against the four, other said they would want to
tread more carefully to prevent antagonising sections of the army loyal to
Family sources say the four relatives languishing in separate cells in
Yangon's infamous Insein jail have not been informed of the death of the
"Old Man", who ruled Myanmar with an iron fist for 26 years until 1988.
Sandar Win remains under house arrest at the family compound and has not
been allowed to receive visitors, but it is unclear whether the ruling
junta will take legal action against her, as it has hinted it could do.
However, she was allowed to attend her father's cremation and funeral
rites, held within hours of his death, and later to offer alms to Buddhist
monks at her residence in accordance with Buddhist tradition.
She was also permitted to personally scatter Ne Win's ashes into the
Yangon river a day after the cremation.
Diplomats and analysts believe the ruling State Peace and Development
Council (SPDC) is unlikely to hang the four as it has never carried out
the death penalty since coming to power 14 years ago.
"I think the Supreme Court will decide to scrap the death penalty in
favour of a life sentence as a gesture of respect for the Old Man," said
one legal expert with close ties to the Ne Win family.
He also said he expected Sandar Win to be confined to the house, possibly
for years, but that no charges would be levelled at her.
"Sandar is likely to be kept under restriction for some time to come...
They won't be trying her for conspiracy since no charge has as yet been
legally made and its somewhat too late to do so," he said.
Democratic Voice of Burma December 19 2002
Democracy League supporters reportedly stopped from meeting Suu Kyi
Burmese authorities have imposed restrictions preventing National League
for Democracy supporters from meeting Aung San Suu Kyi during a tour of
Arakan state, opposition radio reported. An NLD member in Sittwe township
said authorities had made a number of arrests as supporters gathered for
the opening of various local party offices. The following is an excerpt
from the report broadcast by Burmese opposition radio on 19 December
We have learned that National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi and her party have left Sittwe this afternoon. Despite the
difficulties, they were successful in reopening the Sittwe Township party
branch office and the Arakan state party branch office at 0800 local time
this morning. A large number of people showed up for the opening of the
party branches despite the restrictions imposed by the authorities. To
know more about the events, we contacted U Tha Kyaw, a member of the NLD
in Sittwe. Tha Kyaw Everything went quite well (?and the offices were
opened). There were a lot of people. Crowds of people were following her
(?wherever she went). The plan was for them to rest today but they left at
DVB When you said there were a lot of people when the offices were
reopened, did NLD organizers also come?
Tha Kyaw Yes, they did. Despite the difficulties, people came through.
There were a lot of people. I think you understand what "difficulties"
mean, don't you?
DVB Yes, of course. Did Daw Aung San Suu Kyi speak to the people who came
to the reopening of the offices?
Tha Kyaw Yes, she did. She did speak quite a lot. She spoke about national
unity, about how she is working for the whole country, and for all the
ethnic nationalities. She said people must continue to work with
determination for democracy and national unity. Everybody must work for
the whole nation. She said a lot of things, but if it concerns policy
matters, only the NLD headquarters can tell you.
DVB Were there any arrests made by the authorities in Sittwe?
Tha Kyaw Yes, there were some arrests at the grassroots level. But, people
could overcome that obstacle and come to us.
DVB Can you also tell us something about the opening of the office in
Tha Kyaw There were difficulties when the Mrauk-U office was reopened.
There were problems. We did not think that office opening in Sittwe would
be successful because of what happened in Mrauk-U. But, we succeeded
because people came out in force in Sittwe. There were frequent applauses
when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi spoke. They chanted, "Long Live Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi!" Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also looked very happy and pleased... End of
NLD spokesperson U Lwin said regional authorities obstructed the people
and imposed restrictions when the Mrauk-U party branch office was reopened
last Tuesday 18 December . Here is what he said.
U Lwin Regional authorities had imposed restrictions on the people before
the party reached Mrauk-U. People were not allowed to leave or come into
the town. All traffic was blocked; no car, boat, or ship was permitted to
come in or go out. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her party arrived in Mrauk-U
under those circumstances. She met with the NLD township organizing
committee members who also had difficulties trying to reach her because
police, fire service personnel, and USDA Union Solidarity and Development
Association members were stationed around the house where Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi was staying. They had to ask permission to meet her from these people.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi discussed office reopening matters with NLD members
and told them the time the office would open. She had some time to rest
although it wasn't that long. This is because she was hearing about the
situation around Mrauk-u and she was not happy. People wanted to come to
her but they could not and she could also see the barriers set around her
When the time came to open the office, NLD organizing committee members
were prevented from coming in. They were allowed in only after a heated
exchange of words. The office signboard was hoisted only after that. End
When Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her party were on their way out of Mrauk-U,
people came out to greet her. Regional fire service personnel and USDA
members obstructed them. But, since the people would not move, a fire
engine arrived and tried to spray water on the people. When that was
happening, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi intervened. U Lwin described it as
Beginning of recording When that was happening, a fire engine arrived and
tried to hose the people. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi saw the scene from her car
and because she was not happy with what was happening, she left her car
immediately and climbed onto the fire engine. She said what was happening
there was because of her visit. The reason she was there was because she
wanted to meet the people. A political party that works for democracy has
to meet with the people and must work in the interests of the people. She
said police and the others there were also public service personnel and
that they should be working in the interests of the people. Their
organizations were formed for that purpose. They must work in the
interests of the people and show them discipline. She said instead of
doing that they were mistreating the people and that she was not going to
stand for that. She said she would settle the problem for them. She said
she would leave after meeting the people peacefully. She said since she
would be meeting the people only briefly, the authorities should not
intervene. The two sides agreed to the proposal.
I understand she was able to meet about three different groups of people.
About 10,000 people were in each of the groups. End of recording
We also understand that the authorities tried to stop the people in
Kyauktaw. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her party have left Sittwe for Minbu
today. From there, they will proceed along the Monywa-Bassein road to
Okshitpin, west of Prome. From there, they will proceed to Sandoway via
Democratic Voice of Burma December 19 2002
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Minbu
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and party left Sittwe today. Despite the attempt to
disrupt the event, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her party were successful in
reopening the party branch office in Sittwe. She also met people who had
come out to meet her.
U Tha Kyaw, member of National League for Democracy, said despite some
arrests people could overcome the obstacles and greet Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi. It was the same in Mrauk-U. There were about 20,000 to 30,000 people.
NLD Spokesperson U Lwin also recounts the problem in Mrauk-U. People were
prevented from coming into Mrauk-U when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her party
arrived. Police and security personnel were stationed around the home they
When the authorities tried to disperse the people, who had come out to
greet the leader, Daw Suu intervened and succeeded in meeting the people.
The party left for Minbu.
TV Myanmar December 18 2002
Burmese leader rejects "slanderous accusations" of religious persecution
Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council Gen Khin Nyunt
delivered a speech at the pre-Christmas service and dinner jointly
sponsored by Myanmar Burma Christian Council of Churches and Yangon
Rangoon Catholic Priests Council. The ceremony was held on the lawns of
the Bishop Court of Myanmar on Pyidaungsu Yeiktha Road in Dagon Township,
Yangon, at 1900 this evening...
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary-1 General Khin Nyunt said: "I would
like to begin by saying that I am at peace and happy on this auspicious
occasion because I have joined my national brethren and the religious
leaders who are striving for the welfare of our universe in a
pre-Christmas service to celebrate the birth of All Compassionate Jesus
"While the government has shown sympathy and understanding, ethnic
nationalities have also mutually shown tolerance and understanding for the
right of all ethnic nationalities to freely preserve their own traditions
and culture, religion, and race, and this has contributed to the
perpetuity of national unity and integrity of the Union of Myanmar...
"All religions teach people to practice loving kindness, to have
compassion, sympathy, and forgiveness, and to have strong ethical and
moral values... The government believes that professing any religion
strictly according to its teachings can only bring benefits and prosperity
to mankind. Because of that belief, the state encourages all citizens in
the Union of Myanmar to freely worship and practice their religious faith
strictly according to their religious teachings. "Because of piety and
magnanimity, Myanmar has shown profound respect for different religions
and given encouragement so that they can develop peacefully. But recently,
there have been deliberate attempts to accuse Myanmar of not having any
religious freedom. These improper acts are aimed at breaking up the unity
of the people.
"Turning a blind eye to the fact that all religions are peacefully
co-existing and flourishing in the nation, slanderous accusations are
being made against Myanmar about religious persecution and the lack of
religious freedom in the country. The fact is these are attempts to
exploit the goodness of religion for political gains. Hence, all religious
leaders are requested to show sincere compassion in quashing all these
unfounded accusations. Exploiting the righteousness of religion to achieve
an improper result is to tarnish the good image of religion. All people
who are truly religious will therefore oppose such slanderous
The Guardian (London) December 20 2002
Burma rallies for Suu Kyi
Burma's opposition said yesterday that the ruling military had failed to
stop a crowd of 20,000 people flocking to a rally by the pro-democracy
politician Aung San Suu Kyi. The rally was a sign of tension between the
military and Ms Suu Kyi since UN-brokered talks began two years ago.
Agence France-Presse December 20 2002
Thai police seize 22 kilos of heroin on Myanmar border
Thai anti-narcotics police said Friday they had seized 22 kilos (48
pounds) of heroin smuggled from Myanmar and arrested five suspects,
including two from an ethnic militia allied to the Yangon junta.
Police intercepted the drugs haul in an operation staged in Mae Ramat
district in the northwestern province of Tak on Tuesday. Apart from the
heroin, they also confiscated a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition,
three mobile phones and a pickup truck.
Three Thais from Tak province were arrested, along with two members of the
Democratic Buddhist Karen Army (DKBA), and all were charged with
The two Karen fighters also faced charges of illegal entry and illegal
possession of firearms and ammunition, police said.
Although methamphetamines have taken over in Thailand as the drug of
choice, trafficking of heroin into the country remains a major problem.
In September authorities announced their biggest heroin seizure on record,
a haul of nearly 140 kilograms (308 pounds).
Drug trafficking is a perennial irritant to relations between Thailand and
Myanmar, with both sides accusing the other of supporting ethnic armies
involved in the narcotics trade.
Mizzima December 18 2002
Indian Airlines Connects Bangkok and Gaya
Good news has come for the Buddhist pilgrims from Burma. Indian Airlines
will today start direct flights between Bangkok and Gaya in the Indian
state, Bihar. The inaugural flight was flagged-off today by India's Civil
Aviation Minister Mr. Syed Shahnawaz Hussain at a function in Gaya, a
center of Buddhist pilgrimage in India.
An Airbus A-320 will fly every Saturday from Bangkok to Gaya, before
continuing on to Calcutta. The reverse flight will operate on Wednesdays
from Calcutta, stopping at Gaya, then onto Bangkok.
According to travel agencies in New Delhi, the fare for a Bangkok-Gaya
(one way) ticket is Rupees 16,500 ($344) while a Bangkok-Gaya-Bangkok
(return) ticket costs Rupees 22,500 ($469).
Bodh Gaya, where Buddha attained enlightenment, is the center of
attraction for the Burmese Buddhist pilgrims. Every year, hundreds of
Burmese visit Bodh Gaya and other Buddhist sites in India and Nepal under
supervision from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Currently, the Burmese pilgrims have to travel from Yangon to Bangkok to
Kolkata (Calcutta) and then proceed to Gaya by bus.
The introduction of the new flights between Bangkok and Gaya will reduce
the travel fatigue previously experienced by pilgrims when undertaking the
long bus journey between Kolkata and Gaya.
ON THE BORDER
Irrawaddy December 20 2002
Thais Arrested by DKBA
By Aung Su Shin
Two Thai nationals are being detained by brigade 999 from the pro-Rangoon
Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) for alleged heroin trafficking,
according to Thai security officials. The two are from Wan Ta Kiang
Village in Mae Sot District and have been held since Wednesday.
Pa Teing, 50, aka Nang Nuu Lumyai, and her nephew are reportedly being
held in Burmas Hwe Shan Village by DKBA troops. They reportedly fled to
the village after Thai narcotic agents raided a home in Ban Wan Phar
Village belonging to Nai Kaew Pinsunar, seizing 22 kilograms of heroin, a
9-mm handgun and one M-40 grenade.
According to Tongmuang Sittikaew, the village headman from Wan Phar
Village, DKBA troops apprehended the two upon arrival for their suspected
involvement in Tuesdays raid. Four men were arrested in the raid,
including Lar Pho, 29, from the DKBA.
Tongmuang Sittikaew traveled to Burmas Kokko Village this week, where
Brigade 999 was holding a meeting, to inquire about the two after Pa Teing
called him and told him of their arrest. He said Kokkos village headman
told him that they were being held by the DKBA.
The village headman "said that anyone who committed drug offenses would
receive a heavy punishment," Tongmuang Sittikaew said. He also said two
DKBA soldiers, who were arrested in connection with the heroin, had come
to the home of Nai Kaew Pinsunars daughter this week looking for money
from an alleged jade transaction. "I do not know what is really
happening," said Tongmuang Sittikaew.
Concerning Wednesday's call from Pa Teing, he said, "It means they were
alive yesterday evening, but I do not know today."
The DKBA split from the Karen National Union in 1994. They have long been
suspected of trafficking drugs into Thailand through the porous Thai-Burma
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