Villagers in Mon State are stuck with extortion imposed by Light Infantry Battalion No.31

August 31, 2007


The Mon Forum

Taung-Bone villagers were ordered to pay more taxes than they could afford. Taung-Bone village is in Ye Township, Mon State. According to the local people, the order was given by Captain Myint Thein from Light Infantry Battalion IB No. 31.

The order stated that the village head had to take responsibility for finding 10 porters among Taung-Bone’s villagers. If porters could not be found, the village head would have to collect 70,000 Kyat from the villagers.

Captain Myint Thein and his followers also collected 500 Kyat from each household to cover the Battalion’s rations.

In late August, they collected 1700 Kyat from each household to cover the rations of the local militia and village security.

“Before, they collected 1500 Kyat per month but since August they’ve been collecting 1700 kyat,” said Nai Kyaw, a 40 year old from Taung-Bone village.

“On top of this tax, we also have to pay other monthly taxes. We lose more than 2,000 Kyat in taxes per month” Nai Kyaw added. He also complained that they are stuck with extortion because they can’t produce rubber from their rubber plantations during the rainy season and they are restricted from going from one village to another in order to sell things.

Moreover, Burmese soldiers from the Light Infantry Battalion No. 31 took villagers’ motorbikes for the Battalion’s own use. They had been taking 2 motorbikes from the village every day. The owners’ of these motorbikes were not only forced to allow the soldiers to use their motorbikes but also had to give 1 gallon of gasoline a day.

The local people are facing a big challenge. They are being starved due to the high rate of taxation and many other compulsory orders given by the Burmese soldiers. It seems like there will be no relief, as the rainy season and SPDC imposed travel restrictions make earning money almost impossible.

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