The Mon Peace and Defense Front (MPDF) abuses its authority in Mon State
November 19, 2014
In an abuse of authority, the Mon Peace and Defense Front (MPDF) has been operating under its own rule of law, unjustly arresting and threatening the local people, organizing gambling rings in remote areas, and extorting money from vulnerable villagers, according to a local source.
“The Mon Peace and Defense Front has been unjustly arresting villagers, who currently face trial, and allowing some villagers to organize gambling. The group also extorts money from phone-service shops and sawmills, and has launched their own local judicial system. According to a local gambler, the group has also allowed villagers in remote areas to organize card games,” said Mi Khin Sein, a 60 year-old Pa-Nga resident whose house was confiscated by the group.
Mi Khin Sein’s house was confiscated by MPDF because the group decided that she would not be able to pay off her debt. Mi Khin Sein, a widow, was distraught when her house was confiscated in the middle of the rainy season. Now, Mi Khin Sein has been taking shelter in a small hut on her relatives’ rubber plantation.
Provoked by individuals close to the group, the MPDF threatened her with the old debts and asked for the money. Even though her house has already been confiscated, Mi Khin Sein still remains in debt to the MPDF, and now faces great difficulty as she has no one to ask for help. Mi Khin Sein has limited education and does not have any knowledge of the legal system or its procedures.
The MPDF has similarly extorted money from rubber plantations, sawmills, and other businesses in Mudon, Thanbyuzayat, and Ye Townships. The group is alleged to be organizing gambling rings in these townships as well.
“The group [the MPDF] has been organizing card games in Ong Khae Village. The village abbot requested they stop gambling, but they didn’t obey. They [the MPDF] are afraid of no one, and organize gambling in their houses. No one dares to arrest them,” said an Ong Khae resident.
“Even though they have named themselves the Mon Peace and Defense Front, they have been troublesome for their own community. It [would be] good if the New Mon State Party (MNSP), Mon political parties and civil society groups could solve this problem together. If not, other ethnic groups will look down on our Mon people,” said Nai Ong from Thanbyuzayat.