Burma

Masked Men Rob Myanmar State-Owned Bank Officials Carrying Money to Vault

By Min Aung Khine 27 November 2019

SITTWE, Rakhine State—Police in Kyauktaw Township, Rakhine State are combing the town for clues about a robbery of the township branch of state-owned Myanmar Economic Bank, according to Police Lieutenant Colonel Maung Maung Soe of the Rakhine State Police Force.

“We have been conducting a search since the robbery. We have not yet apprehended the robbers. We have blockaded the surrounding area,” Police Lt-Col Maung Maung Soe told The Irrawaddy.

Two masked men reportedly stole millions of kyats from bank officials around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday when they were transporting the money to a vault inside the township’s police station. According to the bank’s official procedures, the money is kept in the vault at the police station at night while the bank is closed, due to instability in the area.

The bank is located in the neighborhood of government offices and is surrounded by the township General Administration Department, public hospital, Forest Department and the central police station.

Bank officials were transporting a box containing the money to the police station in a bicycle trishaw when two masked men on a three-wheel motorcycle grabbed the box near the Forest Department, according to local residents.

Neither bank officials nor police have published details about the robbery but some reports suggest that around 210 million kyats (US$138,830) were stolen.

Some local residents believe that the robbery was conducted by an armed organization while others say the robbers were simply opportunists taking advantage of weak rule of law in the area.

The Irrawaddy phoned the office of the Kyauktaw Township Police Force and the township’s central police station several times, but no one answered.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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