Sunday, 31 May 2020

By Tin Soe

Maungdaw, Arakan State
: The high-ranking officers in Maungdaw, a border town between Burma and Bangladesh, are making the city a major drug transit point for western Burma, said a local businessman.

“A lot of drugs, especially Yaba [methamphetamine] tablets, are entering Teknaf, Bangladesh from Maungdaw, Burma and the drugs are being moved not only with the aid of high-ranking officers of Maungdaw, but by the officers themselves.”

“The officers bring Yaba with them from Burma. As high-ranking officers, they are not checked by the concerned authorities, even though the authorities know that the officers are bringing the drugs to the border town for easy money.”

The officers have their own agents to supply the drug in the town. The officers protect their agents from arrest, said a drug peddler from Maungdaw.

“Every officer has his own agent, and the officers meet their agents in their own home or other place which is safe for him.”

“Maung Nu, the agent for the district police head, is meeting every evening at his residence in Myoma Kyanyindan Village to exchange money for Yaba tablets. Maung Nu also informs against the local residents who oppose or criticize his business.”

“Fayas, who is an informer and drug trafficker for Military Intelligence (Sarapa), harasses local Rohingya residents with false claims and allegations to extort money.”

Similarly, Hamid Husson, the owner of the Hitachi Electronics store, is working for all departments of Maungdaw, especially for the authorities concerned with drugs, by distributing Yaba to the traffickers and informing to the police. He is also selling Bangladeshi mobile sim cards and handsets, which is illegal in Burma. Later, he informs on his customers to the police or the Burma border security force (Nasaka) to extort money, said a local resident from Maungdaw.

“Mubarak, the owner of a motor parts store, is also working for all departments, especially for high ranking officers, the township authority head, district authority head, and Nasaka director. He supplies information about Bangladesh, and transfers Yaba tablets to Bangladesh with the help of the authorities. He also has good connections with Bangladeshi politicians, officers, and businessmen.”

Another drug dealer is Rashid Ahmed, who hails from Shwezar village. Ahmed works for the Nakasa, and was recently released from arrest by using his connection with the Nasaka. He harasses local people by making different allegations against them, such as that they possess Bangladeshi mobile phones, are drug peddlers, or are engaged with human trafficking and money laundering,” said a politician from Maungdaw.

“He has so many drug peddlers in his village and Maungdaw to sell Yaba and transfer to Bangladesh where he has also many connections for drug business in Bangladesh.”

“The Nasaka personnel are using him for easy money and to get information about the Rohingya community in the rural area and his village to extort money from them.”

Htun Min Thein hails from Block 3 of Maungdaw, and has a good relationship with police personnel, including Sub-Inspector Shwe Maung (Surveillance), Sub-Inspector Htun Aung (Drugs), and Sub-Inspector Thaung Htay (Traffic). He, along with other three Rakhine (one male and two female), is involved in trafficking drugs from Burma to Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh and is also wanted by Bangladeshi authorities, according to an official from Maungdaw.

“Gayas Uddin is from Maung Ni Village, and works for the police department. He also transfers drugs from Maung Ni to Bangladesh.”

The drugs are being brought to Maungdaw by high-ranking officials, and are then handed over to their agents for supply in Maungdaw, Burma and teknaf,Bangladesh. The officers are also collecting information about who is involving in the drug trafficking. Later, the officers use these connections in their own drug trafficking business, said the official.

“The concerned department only arrests the people who are peddlers and users, not the agents or whole sellers.”