Mawlamyine, 19 September

Myanmar’s military council has started arresting money changers in Mon State in recent days, locals and money changers told Than Lwin Times.

Regime troops and police officers are conducting searches, interrogations, online monitoring and arrests of money transfer operators for allegedly being involved in illegal money transfer business.

At least five money transfer service providers were detained in Mon State’s Kyaikto, Paung, and Thaton townships between 15 and 17 September.

“Our business stopped functioning due to the arrest of the military council, and we are afraid that our accounts will be closed if we are arrested,” a money changer operator told Than Lwin Times.

He went on to say that the military council’s arrest of money transfer operators has made it difficult for those working illegally in the other country to transfer money to their families.

An economist said, “It is possible to arrest money transfer operators to ensure that 25 percent of the salaries of overseas workers are transferred from their designated banks. Because of this move, no one wants to transfer money via the junta-controlled banks anymore, and the money is secretly transferred to the family”.

He went on to say that arresting money transfer operators by the military council will not make illegal money transfer operations disappear, but only if the authorities set the exchange rates according to the open market without controlling the exchange rates will legal money exchanges through banks be able to be restored.

Currently, the military council has opened cases against the arrested money transfer operators under Section 171 of the Financial Institutions Law.

The military council’s Ministry of Labor issued an order early this month that Myanmar workers abroad must transfer 25 percent of their salary once a month or every three months.

The military regime has threatened to ban overseas workers from working abroad for three years if they do not transfer 25 percent of their salary through official banks, and to take action under the treaty.

Most of the money exchangers in Mon State mainly provide services for exchanging Thai currency, Baht, and there are also services that exchange the Malaysian currency, the Ringgit, and US dollars.

News-Than Lwin Times


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