Top KNLA General’s Toyota Land Cruiser Seized

KNLA Land Cruiser

A picture of Saw Johnny’s Toyota Land Cruiser. (Photo: Facebook / Mahn Myo Myint)

RANGOON — A car owned by the commander-in-chief of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) was seized by the Burmese government in Rangoon less than three weeks after a meeting between a delegation he led and President Thein Sein in Naypyidaw, according to Karen sources.

The sources said Gen. Saw Johnny’s car was seized on June 23 on Kabaraye Pagoda Road in Rangoon. His son was behind the wheel at the time, on an errand for his father.

The car, a Toyota Land Cruiser, had no import license and was valued at about 70 million kyats (US$71,000), according to Saw Moe Myint, a Karen community leader in Rangoon.

“He [Saw Johnny] has already provided an explanation,” said Saw Moe Myint, a Karen community leader with close ties to the KNLA’s political wing, the Karen National Union (KNU). “He will not take it back as the car had no permit. His son was driving the car when it was seized,”

A KNU liaison officer in Myawaddy confirmed that the commander-in-chief’s car was seized according to Mahn Myo Myint, a border-based Karen who is close to the KNU.

In a post on his Facebook account, Mahn Myo Myint said Saw Rose, a KNLA colonel who also serves as a liaison officer, told him that the KNU delegation had used the car to travel around Naypyidaw when they met Thein Sein and Burma Army commander-in-chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing early in June.

“The government offered car permits to the KNU already. Where are those car permits being used? They have the right to seize it, for driving the car without permits,” said Saw Moe Myint.

Ethnic armed groups in Burma have received hundreds of car import permits over the last year from the government, as Naypyidaw has endeavored to achieve a long-sought “nationwide ceasefire agreement.” Luxury car permits can be sold for as much at $100,000.

The KNU signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese government in 2012. The Karen News Group reported on Wednesday that a fresh clash broke out between KNLA and government troops on Saturday, killing one government soldier and wounding another.

One soldier from the KNLA was killed on June 14 when government troops attacked a KNLA outpost in Tenasserim Division. It was the most significant armed confrontation between the two sides since the ceasefire was signed.

2 Responses to Top KNLA General’s Toyota Land Cruiser Seized

  1. By seizing this vehicle, peace attempt will be in jeopardy. Myanmar regime is playing too much game. KNLA is insulted. What do the generals of Myanmar expect from the ethnics’ armed groups? Paying taxes to this evil regime? No way. Agreement has not been achieved and they better try to have friendly relationship. How many of the Myanmar generals pay taxes? Their estates and their incomes do not match either. Bullying must stop and respect must be built instead.

  2. Ming aung hlaing has expensive house, renting out to Unecef. Fox has U pie and cronies for all. Karen leader has very cheap car, compared to ming aung hlaing and fox. But cease-fire agreement is nothing for both sides because panglong agreement is nothing by U nu and bama military thugs. Bama military thugs can change all agreements any time, any reason and any where what they want in history and in now and then. This incident can not downgrade Karen leaders. If bama military vehicles can drive all ethnics’s lands without all ethnics’ permits, all ethnic cars can drive anywhere in Burma without permit. It is simple equation or equal right from G-Aung san.

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