Lawmaker Calls For Action Against Illegal Logging in Kachin State

By Htun Htun 21 September 2016

A lawmaker from Kachin State urged the Upper House to look into illegal logging carried out by local militia groups in Kachin State’s Kawnglangphu Township on the Sino-Burma border.

Lawmaker U J Yaw Wu alleged that local militia groups worked hand in glove with Chinese companies to smuggle logs into China at mile post Nos. 30, 31, 35 and 41 in the east of Kwanglangphu and that the problem had gotten worse since 2014.

“The Kachin State government and the Northern Command of the Burma Army have drawn up a plan to arrest them. The military will provide security for combined groups of departmental personnel to launch a crackdown,” said Minister for Resources and Environmental Conservation U Ohn Win.

The minister said that security and rule of law are limited in remote areas where local militia groups make their homes and unless the government, the military and the police force provide full security, it will be difficult to apprehend the smugglers.

According to the minister, from the start of the 2016-17 fiscal year in April, a total of 1,940 tons of smuggled logs and 104 units of heavy machinery were seized, along with 117 smugglers arrested in Kachin State. Over the past five years, a total of 26,233 tons of smuggled logs and 1,598 units of machinery were seized, while 861 Burmese smugglers and 176 foreign smugglers were arrested.

The seized machinery used in smuggling was not registered, but was brought into the country illegally over the border, said the minister. The government does not run the border gates in the area, so there is no inspection of vehicle entry and departure and no tax collected, added the minister.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.