Thursday, July 23, 2009

Extortion Increases in Arakan's Rambree

Rambree (Narinjara): Extortion in Rambree Township in Arakan State has been on the increase, particular extortion committed by the township chairman, said a retired school headmaster from Rambree.

He said that Township Chairman U Aung Kyaw Zaw has extorted taxes from many businessmen in Rambree Township with threats of not providing them permits for future business operations.

U Aung Chit Than, who owns and operates the Rangoon-Rambree bus route, gave 100,000 kyat to the township chairman recently after being threatened with having his operation permit withdrawn.

U Tun Wai, who is also a bus owner from Sapar Ton Village under Lay Daung Village Tract in Rambree, gave 100,000 to the chairman in June after being similarly threatened.

U Nyo Win, a tractor owner from Ward One in Rambree, had to pay 100,000 kyats to U Aung Kyaw Zaw after he failed to meet the chairman when he was summoned.

U Than Kyaw, chairman of Ward Five in Rambree, and Ko Than Min Naing, a rickshaw puller, each had to give 5,000 kyats to the chairman. They were forced to pay after their tractor and rickshaw respectively crossed in front of the township chairman's motorbike when he was traveling in Rambree.

According to a source, the extorted money was transferred to him through the bank account that was opened at the government bank in the name of the township chairman fund.

Many high government officials in Arakan, including army and navy officials, have extorted money from the public recently because they believe they will lose this privilege after the 2010 election.

After the 2010 election, it is believe that the new government that comes to power will change the government administration system. Because of that, the government officials currently in power are taking advantage of the current situation to extort as much money as possible from the public, the retired teacher said.

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