Burma

Myanmar Police Probe Boss over Child Employee Burns

By Salai Thant Zin 24 February 2020

Pathein, Ayeyarwady Region — A children’s rights activist has filed a lawsuit against a restaurant owner who allegedly set a child employee on fire at her business in Labutta Township, Ayeyarwady Region.

Daw Cho Cho San, the 36-year-old owner, allegedly poured fuel on the 13-year-old boy and set him on fire on Feb. 19 over 80,000 kyats (US$52) that was missing from the till.

The boy was treated at Labutta Public Hospital. The victim’s mother reported that the burns were caused by a soup pot that fell on him.

A children’s rights committee member U Myint Htay saw the victim’s photos online and investigated.

“I went to the hospital and found all his hair was burned away. He had burns over his torso. His mother said the burns were caused when a soup pot fell on him. And his hair was burned when he fell on a fire. It was not plausible. Neighbors said they saw [the attack] so I opened the case,” said U Myint Htay.

Residents said they saw the victim run out on fire and roll in the dirt on the street.

The victim suffered from burns on his shoulder and both arms.

“We have opened a case against Daw Cho Cho San under Section 326 of the Penal Code. But bail is allowed for this charge. We are still speaking to witnesses,” Lieutenant-Colonel Tun Shwe of Ayeyarwady police told The Irrawaddy.

Section 326 is for voluntarily causing grievous harm and carries a prison term of up to 10 years.

Witnesses had promised to testify in court, said No. 1 ward administrator U Htwe Myint.

“When I asked eyewitnesses in my ward, they said the employer first asked him at knifepoint [about the money]. Then she poured fuel on him and used a lighter to ignite it. He ran outside and rolled around in the sand.

“He reached a neighboring house and pieces of burned flesh were left on the wall. We have taken them as evidence,” he said.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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