Ye residents develop night patrols system to protect against rising number of thefts

September 18, 2023

At about 6 am on September 15, 2023, Thanbyuzayat residents found a man hanging from electrical wires.   He appears to have died from an electric shock while trying to steal electrical cable wire from the utility pole in Aung Ku Toe Ward, Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State.

He’s a part-time worker from the EPC (Electricity Providing Committee). He tried to steal wire from the utility pole last night, and died from an electric shock. His body was found in the morning,” said a Thanbyuzayat resident.

Since February 1, 2021,  the value of Burmese currency has dropped significantly  and commodity prices have risen sharply due to international sanctions and mismanagement by the military junta. Day after day, people’s lives are made more difficult. 

Crime such as theft and robbery are now common in Mon State due to lack of rule of law. 

Now stealing electrical cable wire has become a more common occurrence.

Motorcycles, bicycles, wrought iron doors, barbed wire, electric wire cable, electric bulbs, water pumps are examples of what is being stolen now on a regular basis. 

It is common now in Ye to find thieves and robbers. They’ve taken advantage of curfew to steal things. Many houses were burgled,” said a resident from Ye Township.

Eleven houses were burgled within two days in Maw Ka Nin village, Ye Township.  Thieves stole water pumps and other valuable belongings.

Two houses in Kaw Dut village, Ye Township were also burgled on September 12, 2023 and 73. 44 g of gold was stolen.

Houses were burgled when the owners went to a religious festival. One homeowner lost 73.44 g of gold. She cried a lot but could do nothing,” said a local resident.

Local authorities have shown no intention to handle the cases.

Motorcycles are frequently stolen. The military and the police know who the thieves are and who bought the stolen motorbikes. But they haven’t arrested them so the situation is getting worse,” said a villager from Ye Township.

Local people have now decided to develop a self-reliant defense system to catch thieves.

On August 18, residents in Lamine Town, Ye Township formed a “self-reliant night patrol team” with more than 100 members.

The villagers complained to me that there have been too many thefts and we do nothing. After some negotiation we decided to establish “night patrol team”,” said the Administrator of Ward #1, Lamine Town.

From August 19 to the first week of September, 2023, the “night patrol team” has caught 15 thieves in Lamine.

If a thief is from upper Burma, we force him to return to his native place. If we catch someone with illicit drugs, we’ll transfer them to the New Mon State Party. We have to do all these things with our own money,” said a member of Lamine “night patrol team”.

Similarly, Kaw Dut village had decided to form a self-reliant “night patrol team” to protect their property.

We’ve called a meeting on September 12 to discuss the formation of a “night patrol team”. Now, the team is patrolling the village every night,” said a villager.

Villagers welcome the “night patrol team” by providing them with food and monetary support. Now, every village in Southern Ye Township is considering establishing a self-reliant “night patrol team”.

“Motorbikes were stolen. Fruits were stolen. Our belongings were stolen. After we’ve been patrolling at night, the number of thefts has significantly dropped,” said a villager from the Phar Lane area, Southern Ye Township.


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