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KNU PRESS STATEMENT NO(13)_ Mergui-
Subject: KNU PRESS STATEMENT NO(13)_ Mergui-Tavoy District
KAREN NATIONAL UNION(MERGUI-TAVOY DISTRICT)
ORGANIZING AND INFORMATION DEPARTMENT
Date: September, 15, 1995
PRESS RELEASE NO: 13
Ticket to ride
Tavoy-Yay Phu new railroad was opened by the Slorc in Tenasserim
Division on May, 1995 and the train ticket costs 10 Kyat for
each. The cost of a ticket from Tavoy to Yay Phu by private bus
was also 10 Kyat before the railroad was build in this area.
Local people are now very disappointed because they expected that
it would be cheaper than the private bus when the government
owned railroad finished.
During this raining season, Tavoy-Yay Phu railroad was damaged
three times in many parts of it by the water. The yearly maximum
rate of rainfall in that area is over 200 inch. And local people
were summoned as forced labors by the Slorc for repairing the
railroad without any labor charges.
Railroad soil bank rebuilt
Each 800 local people from Thayat Chaung township, Long Lon
township, Tavoy township and Yay Phu township in Tavoy District
were collected by the Slorc to construct the rest of long
railroad soil bank between Kyauk Kanyar and Zinba village in Yay
Phu township since June, 1995.
The prisoner labors from 30 mile camp have worked for necessary
stones and rocks for the bridges which located along the railroad
and the cars owned by the local people were used to carry those
stones and rocks by the Slorc's army.
The estimate number of local forced labors for the railroad
between Kyauk Kanyar and Zimba village.
1. 21 mile camp 1,000 local forced labors
2. 30 mile camp 200 prisoners and 700 local forced labors
3. Nwe lein camp 700 local forced labors
4. Zinba camp 300 prisoners and 800 local forced labors
Every local forced labor has to carry their own food while they
were in railroad construction site.
Rotating system for porters
Local people from all the villages in four townships of Tavoy
District have been instructed by the local Slorc's army to serve
as porters for monthly, two people from each village. If it is
failed to serve as porter, they have to pay 2,000 Kyat fine per
Study of gas pipeline
The Slorc and TOTAL oil company have allowed a so-called French
woman from Green peace to study the possible damage of
environmental situation in that area for construction of gas
pipeline to evade form the international pressure, started in
April this year. In her report, the environment of that area will
not be damaged by the construction of gas pipeline. She was
allowed for three months to study the environmental situation by
the Slorc. During her study, she has stayed in Lanzon Gyi ward in
Tavoy by the arrangement of the Slorc.
Army of looters
On August 2, 1995, household things and money from villagers in
Zarde Win village in Palaw township were looted by the Slorc's
army column led by Major. Hla Kyi from No.(101st) regiment and
Major. Soe Win from No.(17th) regiment. The following lists of
the persons were looted by the Slorc's army:
1. Saw Thar Shell cost of household things 5,000 Kyat
money(in Cash) 6,000 Kyat
2. Saw Kya Lay cost of household things 2,000 Kyat
money 8,500 Kyat
3. Saw Me De cost of household things 3,000 Kyat
money 1,000 Kyat
4. Saw Pe Kay cost of household things 15,000 Kyat
money 1,500 Kyat
5. Saw Te De cost of household things 4,500 Kyat
money 1,000 Kyat
6. Saw Mu Say cost of household things 4,000 Kyat
money 500 Kyat
7. Saw Say Lwal cost of household things 2,000 Kyat
money 1,000 Kyat
8. Daw Taw Hla Myain cost of household things 40,000 Kyat
money 10,000 Kyat
Total 105,000 Kyat
When the Slorc's army column entered the village, all the
villagers have escaped to porterage and the Slorc's troops went
up on the houses and looted money and household things such as
radio, cassette tape recorder, traditional silver bowl, new
clothes, sewing machine etc.
Interview with an escapee from forced labor
Brief biography of escapee
Name- Ko Tin Sein
Father's name- U Maung Tin
Address- Hnan Kyal village, Yay Phu township, Tenasserim
Martial status- Married with Ma Hla Yin
Children- Two boys and a girl
Date of interview- September 10, 1995.
Q: Ko Tin Sein, when did you leave Hnah Kyal village?
A: I left Hnan Kyal on September 9, 1995.
Q: Why did you leave your village?
A: When I came back from railroad construction site on September
8, 1995 after my turn of forced labor working and I have seen
that my family hardly facing their daily survival. I can do
nothing for my family because I didn't get any payment for my
work in railroad construction. First, the camp authorities have
promised that they would pay labor charges to us, but, finally
they didn't and besides, they ordered us to work in terms of our
absence during the raining days. Then, after we completed all
those works, they have allowed us went back home. So, if I
continue to stay in my village, surely I will be faced next term
forced laboring again and I left for border and to work in
Thailand to save money for my family.
Q: You've worked in 30 mile camp, right? And, have you seen the
Slorc's soldiers beating forced labors?
A: Yes, I've seen. Mostly, camp authorities always punish the
forced labors who couldn't finish their quota of works.
Q: Which Battalion taking security in 30 mile camp?
A: It is Light Infantry Battalion (406).
Q: Do you think that camp authorities are civil servants?
A: No. officers from LIB (406) are camp authorities. They arrange
work hours and daily quota of work for forced labors.
Q: How the camp authorities manage daily quota of work for forced
A: Every forced labor has to dig a hole wide 10 square ft x 1 ft
in the ground.
Q: Did they pay labor charges to forced labors?
A: No. never.
Q: We have heard that Myanmar railway corporation under Minister
of railway has paid labor charges to local forced labors
A: I have heard about it like that. But, we never received that.
The prisoners are being used for the work of breaking rocks and
stones by the management of camp authorities.
Q: Are there prisoners in 30 mile camp?
Q: Do you think how many prisoners there?
A: I think, about 200 prisoners.
Q: Their legs are chained?
Q: When you were in 30 mile camp, any local forced labor died for
A: Yes. One forced labor was killed by the security guard from
Q: So, Where does he live?
A: He lives in same village of mine.
Q: What's his name? Do you know his age and parents' name?
A: His name is Ko Pe San, 30 and his father is U Thee Pe.
Q: Has he a wife and children?
A: Yes. he has. His wife name is Ma Htar and he has 3 children.
Q: How did he died? Can you explain me?
A: Yes. the camp authorities ordered Ko Pe San and another guy
from same village to cut trees for sleepers which will be laid
under the iron rails on September 6, 1995. Then they went to the
hill east part of camp and later Sergeant Tin Win and his unit
from LIB (406) have followed them. Not very soon, we have heard
some gun shots. Then, Sergeant Tin Win came back and ordered us
to carry the corpse of KO Tin Win and we knew he was shot and
Q: So, What's Sergeant Tin Win's reason?
A: He ordered forced labors to assemble and said that who did let
him went east part of camp where is the limited area of army.
Therefore, he said ,"we don't have any kind of responsibility for
his death, because he brakes the rule".
Q: Did you report to his wife?
A: Yes. we did on the same day, September 6, 1995. After received
the bad news, Ma Htar and some (Slorc) village law and order
restoration council members came to 30 mile camp. Then, Sergeant
Tin Win told them to take the dead body back to the village and
not to try to charge them at the court. Because, he has broken
the rule. Ma Htar replied she would not and it was enough for her
to have her husband body. Then, Ma Htar and Slorc members carried
the dead body to the village.
Q: Ko Toe who accompanied with Ko Pe San, didn't he explain the
A: Yes. he did. But camp authorities denied that they did not
order them to cut trees in east part of camp.
Q: Ko Tin Sein, what do you think about the Slorc military
A: Since the period of so-called BSPP (Burmese Socialist Program
Party) and the present Slorc military regime, our people can not
imagine what is wrong and right. Because, sometimes authorities
said that it was true, but next time they said, it was not true
and they forgot what they mentioned before. I can say two period
under the BSPP and Slorc didn't lead us to the right things.
Q: Of course--- and thank you very much for your explanation,
A: I also thank you very much because we have a chance to open
our heart that what we have been suffering since long time.
Army's animal farm
All villages in four townships of Tavoy District have been
ordered to supply various domestic animals to the Slorc's
Regiments and LIBs for their livestock projects. 200 ducks, 200
chickens, 3 pigs and one buffalo or one cow from each village
will be given without fail to the Regiments of No.(25), No.(104)
and LIBs (273), (267), (268), (269), (401), (402), (403), (404),
(405), (406), (407), (408), (409) and (410).
Some local cattle traders who have been accused for smuggling
cattle to Thailand and arrested and paid fine by the Slorc's
army. Their own cattle were also seized and taken in ratio for
Regs and LIBs.
Big money for Slorc
At present, some French officers from TOTAL oil company office
staying in Ohnbin Guin village in Yay Phu township have hired
helicopters from Slorc authorities for their safe trips in Yay
Phu township for constructing gas pipeline. Rental charges for
each helicopter costs 400,000 Kyat per day. Recently, gas
pipeline construction has been re-started and very close persons
of Slorc's army have got the contracts. Although TOTAL company
has paid salary to local workers in dollar, the Slorc's officers
exchange the salary money in Kyat, and then pay to workers. The
Slorc's so-called official exchange rate for 1$ is 6 Kyat, but
black market rate is 120 Kyat.
A local girl raped
On April 20, 1995, the Slorc's military column led by Major Thet
Oo from No.(101st) Regiment entered Wan Nar village in Tenasserim
township and arrested Daw Ohn Kyi 40 and her daughter Ma In Kyi
14. The two women were took near mini video hall in the village.
The reason of arrest them was for the support to ABSDF students
and informing ABSDF. Daw Ohn Kyi was stood under the sun light
for hole day. But, Ma In Kyi was dragged into the mini video hall
and raped many times by the Slorc's soldiers.
Slorc chairman fled to border
The Slorc's appointed chairman of Slorc (village law and order
restoration council) from Yin Gyi village in Long Lon township
fled to Thai border in August, 1995. He admits that he couldn't
continue to collect money from villagers monthly for township
Slorc's chairman and No.(104) Regiment.
Order for cattle
Along the railroad in Hnain Htway village area in Yay Phu
township, it was declared that cattle go up on the railway bank
will be shot and the owners of cattle will also be paid fine. If
the cattle owner want his dead cattle back, he will pay LIB (407)
current price of that cattle. And, everyday the soldiers from LIB
(407) shoot the cattle which go up on the railway bank and the
owners have to pay them 500 Kyat for the charges of ammunition
that the soldiers used.
Border custom gate
The army officers from Slorc's outpost in Nat Eaindaung area in
Tenasserim Division on Thai-Burma border allow local people
entering Thailand through their outpost, but each person has to
pay them 300 baht and sometimes those who want to enter Thailand
were arrested for porterage.
Mergui Tavoy District
Karen National Union
[Note: Translated by the ABSDF Information Department]