Low pay let to corruption, say drug crusaders

According to women in Muse township’s Mongpaw, one reason for official corruption on the Sino-Burmese border, apart from the war and resulting no rule of law, is low pay for the state personnel.

There are a police station, a people’s militia force (PMF) and village and village tract headmen in Mongpaw, a locality of 8 village tracts and 32 villages, with a population of 10,755 and 2,668 households.

“The police are underpaid, while the commodity prices along the border are high,” said a report by the Mongpaw Zone People’s Drug Prevention Association. “Neither the militiamen nor the headmen receive pay.”

The offshoot is the thriving crossborder smuggling of contrabands including charcoal, drug trafficking and gambling in the locality. “All 3 categories of the officials are getting kickbacks from the operators,” the report says.
Each drug retailer, for instance, were paying 400,000 kyat ($ 462) to the police station monthly. “In the past, villagers used to apprehend the drug peddlers and turn them over to the police station,” the report continues. “But they were just ‘fined’ and released later.

“There was also one villager who tried to help the police officers by volunteering as an informant. But one night he was murdered. Not only the policemen, but also the PMF and the headmen were unable to do anything. That’s why we decided to take matters into our own hands.”

The women, according to the report, bore the brunt of the rampant drug addiction in the area. They, by necessity, became the main income earners of the family, after their husbands, brothers and sons became drug users. “We couldn’t keep anything of value, not even good clothes and rice at home because everything of value was stolen,” says the report. “We had to take them to our neighbors for safekeeping while we went out to the fields and worked. Sometimes, the users eve pawned their national ID cards in exchange for drugs.”
Their tolerance pushed beyond their limits, the women formed the association on 17 August this year, with the blessing of a respected relative of the Mongpaw PMF leader and Shan State Assembly MP Keng Mai, and launched its campaign against drug peddlers.

A total of 45 homes of the drug pushers were raided by the women. On 26 September, they held a public bonfire putting to torch almost $ 7,000 worth of drugs.

“We will go on fighting until our area is drug free,” declares the report.
Burma has been named the third most corrupt countries in the world. The government meanwhile has extended the deadline for the elimination of drugs from 2014 to 2019.

Related news: Amazons busting dope pushers, 12 October 2012 and more details on 19 October 2012


Allwebsitetools © 2014 Shan Herald Agency for News All Rights Reserved