Dozens of Rohingya Arrested for Traveling Illegally

By Htun Htun 23 January 2019

YANGON—Police have opened cases under the Immigration Law against dozens of undocumented Rohingya accused of leaving Rakhine State without permission.

Police arrested 12 Rohingya on a vehicle near milepost No. 13 on the Yangon-Mandalay Highway on Jan. 19 and 15 more on Mindon-Thayet Rd. in Magwe Region the following day.

“They said they were heading to Yangon, and planned to proceed to Myawaddy, and from there to Malaysia,” said Police Major Zarni Maung of the Highway Police about the Rohingya arrested on the expressway.

Police arrested Ko Khin Maung Win, a resident of Yangon’s Pazundaung Township, for allegedly transporting the group to Yangon. Police have opened a case against him under Section 367 of the Penal Code at Baw Dhi Gon Police Station, located on the highway.

According to the police, the group comprised 10 men and two women. Five are from Pike Thay village in Minbya Township, and the rest are from Than Taung village in Kyauktaw Township.

They were arrested after their drowsy driver drove their vehicle off the highway, according to Highway Traffic police.

In the second case, police spotted two suspicious vehicles on the road linking Mindon and Thayet townships in Magwe. Following an investigation, police arrested 15 Rohingya hiding in a ravine in Mindon Township.

Five are from Sittwe Township and 10 are from Kyauktaw Township.

“The 15 Rohingya went before the Mindon Township Court today. We are still interrogating the six who transported them,” Police Lieutenant Aye Ko of Alel Chaung Police Station told The Irrawaddy.

Some of the Rohingya arrested in Mindon confessed to having plans to go to Malaysia or Thailand via Yangon, but it remains unclear whether they have links to the group of Rohingya arrested on the highway, police said.

On Dec. 12, police arrested 15 Rohingya near a toll gate in Nawnghkio Township, Shan State. They were reportedly heading to Ruili in China. Police also arrested two persons who were taking them to China.

Those Rohingya are from Thakkelpyin village in Rakhine State’s Sittwe and left for Yangon by boat on Dec. 8, arriving on Dec. 10. They were heading to the border town of Muse in three groups when police arrested them.

In November last year, police arrested 105 Rohingya in Yangon’s Kyuaktan Township and another 93 in Tanintharyi’s Launglon Township. After an investigation, the Myanmar Navy sent them back to Rakhine State.