Gun Find Prompts Port Inquiry

By The Irrawaddy 4 October 2012

Rangoon authorities have begun an investigation after a weapon was found in shipping container belonging to the Diamond Star Company at Rangoon’s Thilawa port last month.

The weapon—a Chinese-made pistol with ammunition—was discovered after workers informed the authorities of a suspicious bag inside a container full of wheat from Pakistan on Sept. 24.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Thursday, Rangoon Division’s Border Affairs and Security Minister Col Tin Win said that an Inquiry Board was investigating the case.

The Inquiry Board includes port authorities, general managers and civil servants under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

An employee of the Diamond Star Company told The Irrawaddy that “Our workers found this bag when we opened the containers and immediately informed the authorities about it.”

“We don’t know exactly how it appeared in our containers, which came from Pakistan,” the employee added.

Tin Win said that the board members have been ordered to check all the necessary facts, including whether the containers passed through the X-ray or not, the X-ray machine’s working status and any possible oversights during the checking of the cargo.

“The Inquiry Board is still doing its job, so we haven’t received any answers yet. The prosecution will come later, depending on the findings of the inquiry,” said Tin Win.

The discovery has custom-clearance service agencies worried about their jobs, said one agent who asked to remain anonymous.

“This directly affects us, as we mainly provide services by taking the containers from the port and delivering them to the company,” he said.

He added that they are concerned because the incident could result in lost licenses or even jail terms.

“In the past, the agents that delivered cars without licenses were tried and imprisoned and lost their licenses.”

Diamond Star Co is owned by Dr Ko Ko Gyi, who is one of the top businessmen in Burma.