Ongoing Torture, Killing, Arbitrary Arrests during Midnight Raids by Burma Army in Ho Pong Township
Since the end of July 2017, Burma Army troops have continued patrolling around northern Ho Pong township, torturing, killing and arresting local civilians.
Between July 31 and August 5, 2017, Burma Army troops from IB 249 and LIB 425 raided three villages in Ho Pong township, two in the middle of the night. Five villagers were beaten, and eleven villagers, including a 16-year-old schoolboy, were arrested. On July 31, a villager was shot dead by Burma Army troops of LIB 421. On September 9, troops from LIB 514 arbitrarily arrested and severely tortured a village secretary.
A summary of the incidents of torture, killing and arbitrary arrests documented in Ho Pong by SHRF between July 31 and September 10, 2017, is as follows:
|Date||Villagers suffering violations||Violations suffered||Location in Ho Pong township||Burma Army perpetrators|
|No. troops||Battalion No.||Command responsibility|
|31.7.2917||1 man||Shot dead||North of Kho Tawng village, Pha Khee tract||n.a.||LIB 421||Military Operations Command 7
|31.7.2017||1 man||Interrogated, beaten||Nr. Na Pong village, Na Pong tract||n.a.||LIB 425||Military Operations Command 7 (Banyin)|
|1.8.2017||3 men||Interrogated, beaten||Na Pong village, Na Pong tract||40 troops||IB 249||Eastern Military Command
|3.8.2017||9 men, 1 16-yr-old boy||Handcuffed in the middle of the night, detained in army base||Kun Koong
village, Mong Paeng tract
|30 troops||IB 249||Eastern Military Command (Taunggyi)|
|4.8.2017||1 man||Arrested, detained in police jail||Wan Mark Larng village, Lai Sak tract||30 troops||IB 249||Eastern Military Command (Taunggyi)|
|10.9.2017||1 man||Beaten unconscious, tied up overnight||Nam Khok village, Na Pong tract||45||LIB 514||Military Operations Command 2
These violations are part of a continued operation against local civilians following the clash with NCA signatory RCSS/SSA in Ho Pong on July 14, 2017. SHRF reported on August 4, 2017, that the Burma Army had carried out widespread arrests and torture in Ho Pong between July 16 and 30, 2017. The 12-year-old boy arrested on July 18 for possessing a walkie-talkie was released on August 15, having been detained for four weeks.
Increased fear was caused among local villagers when troops at the IB 249 base near Hpa Lai, Mong Paeng tract, carried out artillery practice between August 28 and 30, 2017. On August 26, 2107, written notices were sent to headmen of four villages in Mong Paeng tract, Ho Pong township, informing villagers to stay away from their base, as mortars would be fired in the area.
In August 31 and September 2, 2017, troops of Burma Army LIB 216 requisitioned trucks of local villagers to carry their supplies, and forced villagers to guide them between villages in Ho Pong.
SHRF has also documented incidents of looting by Burma Army troops in Ho Pong during patrols.
Details of the violations
Burma Army troops of LIB 421 shoot local villager dead
In the afternoon of July 31, 2017, Sai Su Kam, aged 37, was walking in the hills north of Kho Tawng village, when he met some troops of Burma Army LIB 421, who shot him dead.
Villagers in Kho Tawng heard the shots, and when Sai Su Kam did not return home, they suspected he may have been killed, but they did not dare go and look for his body.
A month later, on August 28, a policeman came to see the wife of Sai Su Kam, and told her that her husband had been shot by Burmese troops of LIB 421 because he ran away from them. Villagers then went and collected his body, and performed a funeral.
Sai Su Kam and his wife had three children.
Interrogation, beating of four villagers by Burma Army LIB 425 and IB 249
On July 31, 2017, Tun Tun, aged 44, who stayed in Na Pong village, Na Pong tract, went to the jungle north of the village, to let his cattle graze and met with a group of Burma Army troops from LIB 425. They interrogated and beat him many times, before releasing him. Due to the beating, he could not go to work for five days.
On August 1, 2017, at about 11 am, about 40 Burma Army troops from IB 249 came to Na Pong, and searched through houses in the village. Lung Ariya, aged 58, was standing in front of his house. The troops accused him of being the father of an RCSS/SSA soldier, and asked him about his son’s whereabouts. They beat him with fists three times and then released him.
The same troops then arrested two men who were returning back from their farm to Na Pong village, questioning them about the whereabouts of RCSS/SSA soldiers in the village, and beating them. They tied both of them up, and took them with them, before releasing them north of the village in the evening. The two men’s names were:
- Lung Sarng Maung, aged 47, son of Lung Kaling and Pa Mon
- Sai Kali, aged 19, son of Lung Kyaw and Pa Say
10 villagers, including 16-year-old boy, arbitrarily arrested in midnight raid by Burma Army IB 249
On August 3, 2017, ten villagers were arbitrarily arrested and detained by Burma Army troops from IB 249 during a midnight raid in Kun Koong village, Mong Paeng tract, Ho Pong township.
Early in the morning on that day, at around 1:30 am, a truck with about 30 Burma Army troops from IB 249 came from their base at Pa Lai, Mong Paeng tract, and arrived at Kun Koong village, which has 65 households. They stopped their truck in the village, walked towards Lung Wan’s house, surrounded the house, and banged at the door.
When Lung Wan got up and opened the door for them, they came into the house and started searching it. When they did not see any Shan soldiers, they arrested Lung Wan and his 16-year-old son, and took them with them. After that, they went to search Lung Lam’s house, and also arrested him. They then went and searched Lung Ku Na’s house, and arrested four men from that house (Lung Ku Na, his two son-in-laws and a worker). Then they went to Pa Noi’s house and arrested two men there. Another man was arrested when going to the toilet outside his house. Altogether ten villagers were handcuffed and arrested.
Other villagers living nearby looked out and saw the soldiers taking photos around the houses during the arrests. The soldiers left the village at about 2:30 am, and returned back to their base, taking the ten villagers with them.
The mother of the 16-year-old boy who was arrested went to tell the boy’s teacher in the village. She telephoned to the army base, and told them to release the boy, as he had to go to school. The boy was released at 8 am that morning, and walked home from the army base.
The same day, at 9 am, nine villagers, including the headman of Kun Koong, went to the military base in three cars to try and meet the arrested villagers, but were not allowed to meet them. The commanding officer told the headman to return home, and that he would call him if he was needed. He said: “We will not do anything to them (the arrested villagers). We arrested them because we got high-level orders.”
One of the cars which the villagers had driven to the base belonged to Lung Sarng Sai, one of the arrested men. The Burma Army troops recognized the car, and told the villagers to leave it at the base. They therefore returned to Kun Koong in only two cars.
Later that day, the headman and other villagers returned to the army base to wait for the villagers to be released. At 10 pm, eight of the detained villagers were released, but Lung Sarng Sai was kept in detention. He was accused of being a member of RCSS/SSA.
The released villagers said they had been locked up, about 4-5 people in a room. When they wanted to go to the toilet, they were handcuffed and taken there.
The names of the 10 villagers detained at Pa Lai base are as follows:
1. Lung Wan, aged 50, son of Lung Way Pan Da.
2. Sai Noom Mong, aged 16, son of Lung Wan
3. Lung Lam, aged 49
4. Lung Ku Na, aged 57, son of Lung Lam
5. Lung Sarng Sai, aged 47, son of Lung Uttama, and son-in-law of Lung Ku Na
6. Sai Noom, aged 27, son of Lung Daw Na and Pa Larn, and son-in-law of Lung Ku Na
7. Sai Bock, aged 22, son of Lung Sarng Mard and Pa Tin, working as a farm labourer for Lung Ku Na
8. Lung Aye, aged 39, son of Lung Mai
9. Sai Nor, aged 18, son of Lung Phio and Pa Noi
10. Sai Htwe, aged 28, son of Lung Sandar
Villager arbitrarily arrested in midnight raid by Burma Army IB 249
In the middle of the night of August 4, 2017, four cars and two trucks carrying about 30 Burma Army troops from IB 249 arrived at Wan Mark Larng village, Lai Sak tract. Ho Pong Township. They began searching through the village, including at the monastery.
They searched inside the room of a monk, Sai Khu Kaemida, where they found certificates awarded to two villagers, Sai Sarn and Sai Khun, who had gone to attend a leadership training at the RCSS headquarters at Loi Tai Leng. They also found a military uniform (without insignia) and some Shan language novels.
The soldiers blamed the monk for having the Shan novels, which they said were “political.” Then, they accused him of attending the leadership training, saying the picture on Sai Sarn’s certificate was the monk’s. However, the monk pointed out that he did not look at all like Sai Sarn.
The soldiers then forced the monk to take them to Sai Sarn’s house. When they got there, Sai Sarn’s wife opened the door and told them Sai Sarn was not at home. The troops said they did not believe her, and searched the house. When they could not find Sai Sun, they took his wife and young son to the monastery and interrogated her about Sai Sun’s whereabouts.
The soldiers then called the village chairman and headman to the monastery, and asked the headman to take them to Sai Khun’s house. They found Sai Khun at home, and arrested him. They took him with them in their car to the police jail at Ho Pong. They also took a picture of the monk, and took a record of his biography.
Sai Khun is aged 30. He is married with two children.
Burma Army troops of LIB 216 requisition civilian trucks and force villagers to be guides
On August 31, 2017, about 50 troops of Burma Army LIB 216 patrolling around Na Pong village, Ho Pong township, requisitioned the truck of local villager Lung Jarng Khui, aged 52. They loaded his truck with army food supplies and bags, and ordered him to drive to Hai Khai village. He had to spend the whole day driving for the troops, and was not given any money to pay for petrol.
On the same day, the troops also ordered Sai Waling Swe, a 34 year old villager from Na Pong to guide them on foot to Hai Khai.
On September 2, 2017, the same troops of LIB 216 who had arrived at Hai Khai village, requisitioned the truck of 23 year old villager, Sai Ber Yer, and ordered another villager, Sai Pandi, aged 25, to guide them.
Village secretary tied up and severely tortured by Burma Army troops of LIB 514
On September 10, 2017 Burma Army troops from LIB 514 under MOC 2 in Mong Kung, led by Major Saw Htay Oo, tied up and severely tortured the secretary of Nam Khok village, Nar Pong tract, Ho Pong township.
That day, some people from Taunggyi had come and bought three buffaloes from Nam Khok. Sai Pan, the village secretary, had collected local taxes from the sale of buffaloes, and signed a document for the taxes. In the evening, at 6:00 pm, the three people from Taunggyi were taking the buffaloes away, north of Nam Khok monastery, when one buffalo went astray. The three of them went looking for the buffalo and met a group of soldiers at the monastery. One of the soldiers found the document for the buffaloes signed by Sai Pan, and demanded to see him. At about 8:00 pm, Sai Pan was called, and the soldiers interrogated Sai Pan about the document. He explained that he had collected taxes on behalf of the tract headman, which would be used for community needs in the village. However, the soldiers said they did not believe him, and accused him of being a smuggler. He said that if he was a smuggler, he would not have come to meet the soldiers.
The soldiers then got angry and beat him with fists so hard that he was knocked unconscious for half an hour. When he regained consciousness at 9:00 pm, his head was bleeding and he was tied to a pole in the monastery. He was again beaten many times in the chest and slapped in the face. He was kept tied up until the next morning, when the chairman came to explain why they collected taxes from traders. He was released at about 9:30 am on September 11, 2017, with abrasions and swelling on his chin and right eye, and an open wound on his head.
The chairman complained about this case to the commander of the IB 249 base at Mong Paeng, who apologized and said they would take responsibility for medical treatment of Sai Pan’s injuries. And 100,000 kyats = (73 USD) was paid for the injuries.
Sai Pan is aged 24, the son of Loong Jandar and Pa Ngwe, from Wan Nam Khok village, Wan Nar Pong tract.
Burma Army troops of IB 225 and IB 249 loot car, cash, gold, mobile phones, food in Nam Khok
While Burma Army IB 225 and IB 249 were staying in Nam Khok on July 18-21, 2017, the troops looted property from the following villagers:
1. Lung Jiek Da and Pa Ki lost 26 million kyat (19,000 USD) in cash, and gold worth 30 million kyat (22,000 USD). They also lost oil worth 50,000 kyat (36 USD), and two mobile phones costing 140,000 kyat (100 USD). The door of their house was broken down by the soldiers.
2. Lung Sarng Lu and Pa Mya Nu lost 14 million kyat (14,000 USD) in cash, a bottle of oil worth 50,000 kyat (30 USD), 15 sacks of rice worth 127,500 kyat (93 USD) and two mobile phones costing 140,000 kyat (100 USD).
3. Lung Sandar and Pa Kham lost one car costing 80 million kyat (58,000 USD) and 8 packets of rice costing 68,000 kyat (50 USD) and 10 containers of oil costing 500,000 kyat (360 USD) and one camera costing 300,000 kyat (220 USD).
4. Pa Moong lost one mobile phone costing 500,000 kyat (360 USD).
Sai Hor Hseng +66: (0) 62-941-9600 (Shan, English)
Sai Korn Lieo +66: (0) 94-643-4230 (Burmese, English)
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