PHOTO: Major General Tun Myat Naing and his wife Ma Hnin Zar Phyu – The Irrawaddy
Thai Immigration police arrested the wife and children of a top commander, Major General Tun Myat Naing of the Arakan Army, an active insurgent group fighting for greater autonomy in western Myanmar. Officials at the Thai Immigration Bureau’s Chiang Mai office arrested Ma Hnin Zar Phyu when she went there to extend her visa on December 4. She, and the two children, were sent to the border town of Mae Sai, in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province, on Friday afternoon. From there the three are expected to be transferred across the border to Tachileik Township in Myanmar’s Shan State, where Burmese Special Branch Police are awaiting their arrival.
“Thai officials said she had been charged with illegal entry because Burmese authorities have revoked her passport.”
Rakhine state, also known as Arakan, is in Myanmar’s west. It came to global attention when 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh to escape a Burmese military crackdown in 2017.
In recent months, civilians there have been caught in the crossfire between the Burmese military and the Arakan Army. According to the UN, more than 35,000 people have been displaced just this year.
Myanmar has designated the Arakan Army a terrorist organisation.
In July, Singapore deported a group of Burmese nationals with links to the Arakan Army over “security concerns”. Meanwhile, the head of the Arakan Information Centre says he is deeply concerned by Hnin Zar Phyu’s arrest.
Nyi Nyi Lwin told reporters that the mother and children should not be deported to Myanmar because she will be arrested, jailed and persecuted,”
“Arresting Tun Myat Naing’s wife is not good. It will create more conflict between the Rakhine people and the government and the Tatmadaw (Burmese army). It will never end, it will go on and on.”
Bilateral ceasefire talks between the Arakan Army and the government have been on hold since mid-September, when an alliance of three militias connected to the AA attacked a military technological academy in Pyin Oo Lwin in Mandalay Region, and police checkpoints in the Shan State.
SOURCES: Reuters | The IrrawaddyKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
International Court of Justice orders Myanmar to stop Rohingya genocide
The UN’s highest court is instructing Myanmar to do “everything in its power” to prevent the genocide of its Rohingya Muslim population. It’s the first time the International Court of Justice has stepped into the ongoing crisis. The Court has rejected arguments from Myanmar’s proxy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and sets out urgent steps to end the violence on the ethnic minority living in the west of the country.
A 2017 military crackdown by Burmese army soldiers (the Tatmadaw) sent around 740,000 Rohingya fleeing north into Bangladesh. Thousands are suspected to have been killed in the crackdown, that’s been termed ‘ethnic genocide’ by the UN, and refugees have made widespread reports of rape and the burning of their villages by the Tatmadaw and local Buddhist militias. 600,000 people remain in the Bangladeshi refugee camps, mostly around the border city of Cox’s Bazar, remain awaiting repatriation.
The International Court of Justice judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf says that “the court was of the opinion that the Rohingya in Myanmar remain extremely vulnerable”.
The court ordered Myanmar to “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts” described by the 1948 UN Genocide Convention.
The court has issued specific ordered to the Myanmar government to report back to the UN within four months, and then provide updates every six months. It’s also instructed Burmese authorities to prevent destroying evidence of crimes against the Rohingya.
Nobel peace laureate, and now civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been widely criticised for her defence of the same military organisation that imprisoned her for years, claimed in an opinion piece that some Rohingya refugees “may have exaggerated” the extent of the abuses.
Writing in the Financial Times, “…the international justice system may not yet be equipped to filter out misleading information before shadows of incrimination are cast over entire nations and governments.”
Suu Kyi also asked that Burmese authorities should have time to act on the results of an “internal investigation”, which this week admitted war crimes may have been committed but ruled out genocide.
The Myanmar military continues to obfuscate with a spokesperson telling reporters yesterday in the capital Naypyidaw it would simply “follow the instructions of the government”.
SOURCE: AFP | Thai PBS WorldKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Tourists to Myanmar going up, but falling short of projections
Vietnam to the right of me, Myanmar to the left, Thailand stuck in the middle….
Myanmar’s 2019 tourism figures improved 15% to give the country 1,324,000 tourist arrivals through the main airport at Yangon. Officials released the 2019 visitor data for Yangon Airport, which excludes cross border arrivals and arrivals through Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw airports, the country’s two other international aviation gateways.
Once overland arrivals at border checkpoints are counted, the annual inbound tourist numbers are expected to swell to around 4 million for the full 2019 year. But the numbers fall well short of the projections made for 2020 which said there would be 7.5 million tourist arrivals by the end of the last decade by the Asian Development Bank. The projections were made by a detailed report on Bumese tourism back in 2013.
In 2019, Asian tourist emerged as the dominant supply with 1,060,396 arrivals at Yangon airport last year, an increase of 20%. This compares with 142,443 arrivals from Western Europe, 0% growth for 2019
China drives the growth in Asian markets, delivering 344,268 passengers, up by a massive 75%, Thailand is now the second-largest source market, dropping from the top spot.
Japan, South Korea and the US make up the third, fourth and firth largest tourist markets arriving at the country’s largest airport. Other strong top performers were: Singapore 52,461, Vietnam 50,203, India 42,548, Malaysia 40,891 and Taiwan 36,874.
Arrivals from the UK market dropped 7%, France slumped 2% and Switzerland declined 10%. Australia tourism to Myanmar declined 8% over the past year.
SOURCE: ttrweekly.comKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Large Bangkok drug haul – meth pills, crystal meth and Ketamine
Metropolitan Police have reported the seizure of 1,600,000 methamphetamine pills (yaba), 34 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (ice), and 40 kilograms of Ketamine. Officials also seized a pick-up involved in the drug gang’s business as well as weapons. The Patrol and Special Operation Division 191 Police seized the drugs from Nipol ‘Hin’ Janprapat and Anuwat ‘James’ Bunjeen while they were in Bang Khae District, western Bangkok.
Police Lieutenant General Pokpong Pongpetra related that the investigation revealed suspects had been renting a home to use as a drug warehouse. The drugs had been sourced from the border areas of northern Thailand, transported south, and then stored in the rented house. They’d then wait for delivery instructions around the Bangkok area.
The 2 suspects already have links with previous drug smuggling operations and, with links to arrests in Pak Kret, Nonthaburi Province and Thonburi District.
Officials also arrested 49 year old Toh-r Denbonfahthai on January 15, who police allege has connections to the ‘Karen people’, a Burmese ethnicity living to the north of the Thai border. He was nabbed with 66 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at the Bangkok Bus Terminal in Chatuchak. He was travelling in a Toyota Sport Rider. His arrest led officials to an abandoned vehicle which was loaded up with 31 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.
Discussing the modus operandi, police say the suspects would deliver the drugs through multiple drug smuggling gangs using public transportation from Mae Sot and Tak provinces (northern Thailand) to Mo Chit in Bangkok. They allege the drugs are then intercepted by another group who would put the drugs into the abandoned car parked on Nawamin Road.
The drugs are then delivered to the person who has ordered the drugs. In this case, the buyer was known as ‘Ma-ah from Myanmar’, living in Thailand. The investigation continues.
SOURCE: Thai Residents
PHOTO: INN NewsKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
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