Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Social workers charged over unlicensed vehicles

Four workers of the Kachin Social Development Foundation have been charged for using four unregistered vehicles, while on the way to Namti, Mogaung township in Kachin State to help refugees taking shelter at religious buildings, foundation officials said on Sunday.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Myo Thura Naung, from the Kachin police force, told The Myanmar Times that they arrested the four workers not because they were going to the refugee camps but because they were using unlicensed vehicles.

“We were examined and arrested them at the gates on August 17. We seized the four vehicles as they were going to refugee camps. They came with eight cars but four of them have no licenses,” Police Lieutenant Colonel said.

Thirteen other vehicles without licenses were impounded in whole Kachin State on the same day, he added.

Four people were arrested for using unlicensed vehicles while one Kachin State resident was arrested for disturbing the duties of the security force members, he said.

“Four vehicles are going to be impounded. We are told that the vehicles and goods would be taken to Myitkyina and actions would be taken there. But we will continue to go to our destination with the rest of the vehicles and goods,” Kachin Social Development Foundation’s (Hpakant township) chair U La Mar La Taung told The Myanmar Times over the phone.

Of the eight vehicles from Myu Sha Zin Lum (Kachin Social Development Foundation) which went to provide aid to thousands of refugees under the care of religious organisations in Namti, four unlicensed vehicles were seized by security forces on August 19, said U La Mar La Taung.

The foundation’s convoy was blocked by security forces at Kar Mine Su Poung checkpoint in Hpakant township on August 17 while they were heading to Namti from Myitkyina. But four unlicensed vehicles out of eight were impounded by security force members on August 19, he said.

“During the arrest, a confrontation between security force members and the foundation’s members broke out,” U La Mar La Taung said, adding that they were inspected by security forces as they would go to help refugees.

“They asked who allowed us to help those in refugee camp. After they found that we did not violate any laws, they checked the car licenses and seized them,” said U La Mar La Taung.

Officials from Myu Sha Zin Lum negotiated with Kachin State Police Force’s officials to relieve restrictions when it comes to travelling to refugee camps for providing aid, according to the foundation’s chair for Myitkyina.

“We have negotiated, but why did the authorities bar us while we were heading to refugee camps? We have demanded not to bar us again. We are still negotiating. They only told us they would present it to their superiors,” said U Zaw Jack, Kachin Social Development Foundation chair for Myitkyina.

“We cannot discuss other cases but unlicensed car cases. The other cases can be discussed when we reach Myitkyina,” U La Mar La Taung said.

Discussion about arresting the unlicensed cars is being made with the lawyers, said the officials from the foundation. – Chan Thar