Mawlamyine, February (22)

Extortion has worsened at checkpoints established by the military council for security reasons along the Myawaddy-Hpa-an Asian Highway, which is the trade route between Thailand and Myanmar, the traders and truck drivers told Than Lwin times.

Due to the frequent fighting on the Myawaddy – Hpa-an Asia Highway, the military council has expanded the checkpoints for security reasons and has asked for money from passengers and truck drivers.

Currently, the military council has extended the Border Guard Forces (BGF), asking for twice the amount of money than before and forcing passengers to pay the amount they want.

“Furthermore, the BGFs asked for different amounts of money at different gates and threatened to arrest passengers if they did not get the amount they were asking for,” a trader said.

The Military Council has opened at least 20 checkpoints along the Myawaddy- Hpa-an – Mawlamyine Asia Highway, and the checkpoints charge between 20,000 and 50,000 kyats per vehicle.

According to the driver, due to the extortion of large amounts of cash at junta checkpoints, the drivers were forced to stop operations because there was no profit left for them.

Along with the extortion of money at military checkpoints, traders are facing price hikes in the market due to high transportation costs and rising fuel prices.

Furthermore, because the military council’s inspection at the checkpoint takes so long, it has a significant impact on the flow of goods, and commodities do not arrive on time.

Myanmar mainly imports food, textiles, cosmetics, machinery, and construction materials through the Myawaddy Trade Zone using the Asian Highway from Thailand, while exporting corn, broken rice, aquatic products, and agricultural products to Thailand.

News-Than Lwin Times

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