Anti-drug activities by police upsets locals in Mudon and Thanbyuzayat Township

January 6, 2017

HURFOM: In Mudon and Thanbyuzayat Townships, Mon State, local police forces have been conducting anti-drug activities, including arresting young men and boys in the village at night whom they allege, without any evidence, are drug dealers and users, which has local people feeling uncomfortable with the police’s actions.

“Arresting young people at night without any evidence is unlawful,” said a resident from Ka Log Thog Village, Thanbyuzayat Township.

According to Nai Myint Soe from Kaw Ka Pee Htaw Village, Mudon Township, “the police from Ka Mar Wat came at night. They began arresting young men who been wandering the streets at 9 or 10 pm while fraternizing with friends. The police also seized the boys’ motorbikes. Although they did not have any evidence that the young men were using drugs, they said it was part of their anti-drug campaign. It was impossible that young boys were gathering to use or sell drugs in the main street (due to it being too public of an area). I think the fact that the local police have been threatening and arresting the young boys is unlawful.”

Nowadays, many young boys in these townships are using Kratom Leaf, locally called Opium Leaf, which when chewed produces effects similar to opium, as well as using methamphetamine pills. “Even though the authorities said they have been arresting drugs dealers and users, it has not been effective for drug eradication. So arresting young boys in the villages is not a good plan to end drug use,” said one local.

“The police frequently come to arrest young boys (who wander the street at night). The parents have to pay twenty or thirty thousand (kyat) to take back their sons from the police station. If the police have evidence (of using or dealing drugs), they have the right to arrest those ones. But they, now, arrested the young villagers without any evidence and fined them. It’s very unlawful,” continued Nai Myint Soe.

Even though the authority said they have been gaining momentum on drug eradication, the young people have been using Kratom Leaf rather than drinking alcohol during festive events.

“Just the adults drink beer and alcohol. The young people are drinking Kratom-Leaf liquor. They don’t drink beer or alcohol. The Kratom-Leaf liquor is sweet, good to drink and also produces a good feeling. So even there is a strong restriction (against Kratom Leaf), the young people don’t give up on using Kratom Leaf,” said Nai Byine from Pa-Nga Village.

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