Military captain shot and killed civilian on Kalagoke Island

May 28, 2018

HURFOM: On May 16th 2018, Captain Aung Ko Ko Min from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 587 shot and killed a villager, U Tin Soe Myint, on Kalagoke Island, in Lamine Town, Ye Township, Mon State. The killing happened as a result of the villager being unable to produce his national registration card (NRC). Captain Aung Ko will be charged under military law.

According to police officer Myint Win, chief of the Mon State Police Force, the victim’s wife Daw Khin Swe Tin reported the murder to Lamine Police Station on May 18th. He added, “The captain was initially charged with murder under Article 302 of the Penal Code and detained in LIB No. 587. However since the perpetrator is in the military, we informed his battalion about this incident on May 19th. We are arranging to transfer the culprit to the Tatmadaw where he will be charged under military law.”

Nai Thein Htoo, 100 households head, explained that “What happened was the victim’s mother-in-law borrowed 3,000,000 kyat (US $2,228.82) from him. He planned to take her farm if she couldn’t repay the loan. His mother-in-law, however, rented her farm to another man, U Htay Ko, to grow crops on it. The victim was unhappy about that, and destroyed U Htay Ko’s fence. On May 13th, they called in the head of 100 households to solve the problem.”

On May 15th, Captain Aung Ko Ko Min went to the home of the 100 households head to talk with the victim about the farm dispute. He asked him to produce his NRC. The victim told the captain that he left his NRC in Thanbyuzyat. The captain ordered him to fetch his NRC and to meet him the following day. On May 16th, the captain, Aung Ko Ko Min, and three soldiers returned to the home of the 100 households head and met with the victim.

The deceased man’s father-in-law, Nai Chan Aye, explained that, “Around 7pm on the 16th, I went along with my son-in-law to meet with the captain to explain about him losing his NRC. Once we get there, the captain asked my son-in-law for his NRC and he replied that he had lost it. Then the captain asked him to show his household list. He told him that he had left the list in Thanbyuzayat. The captain got up and kicked the victim once and punched him five times. He kicked him again as he was coming down the stairs. Three soldiers, wearing the victim’s clothes, punched him down the stairs. After punching him, they took him to Tat-kone military base located between Auk-seik and Ah-le-seik on Kalagoke Island. They told me, his father-in-law, to go home.”

An administrator from Ye Township states that, “Once they got to the military base, the captain interrogated the victim again. Then the victim got angry and asked the captain, ‘Who are you? Why are you doing this to me? What is your position?’  The victim said that he could travel anywhere in Burma that he pleased. After that, the captain got angry and shot the victim with an A2-0929 gun at around 8pm at night on May 16th.”

The body was sent from Kalagoke Island to Lamine Hospital for forensic examination and his body was cremated in Lamine Towship. “I reported my husband’s case to Lamine Police Station. I want the military to take action on this case seriously. They shot and killed a civilian for no reason,” said the victim’s wife, Daw Khin Swe Tin.

According to Nai Chan Aye, the father-in-law, the family are monitoring whether, when the military prosecute this case under military law, they will uncover the truth or not. Moreover, they are also waiting to find out how the police will deal with the case and how the police decide to punish the perpetrator. If they are not satisfied with the police’s decision they plan to report it to the District Court.

On May 19th, Soe Moe Kyaw, a Tatmadaw official with the rank of battalion commander, attempted to offer the victim’s wife 800,000 kyat (US $594.36) by way of compensation. The victim’s family have refused the offer and said they want to take action to see justice served.

According to villagers from Kalagoke Island, this is the first time they have heard about a civilian being shot and killed by the military on the island. 

On March 9th, 2016, Captain Zaw Myo Htet, from the Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No.280, shot and killed two residents of Magyi Chaung Wa village in southern Ye Township, Mon State.

More recently, on August 12th 2017, Burma Navy Unit #43 tortured six marine workers, resulting in the death of one of the workers.

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