Police Officer Detained for Alleged Rape in Shan State

By Nang Seng Nom 3 November 2016

RANGOON—A police officer on duty at Namatu bridge in Shan State’s Hsenwi Township who allegedly raped a 16-year-old ethnic Kachin girl on Tuesday night is being detained as a rape case is filed.

Pastor Khon Gaung, the secretary of Hsenwi Township’s Kachin Baptist Association, said there would be further discussion on how to proceed with the case.

Khon Gaung said, “The girl was deceived. The officer told her that he would accompany her to her uncle’s house because it was dark and around 10:30 p.m. He then took her to a hotel room through a back door, restrained her and sexually abused her. The girl was dropped off near her home at around 3 a.m.”

A police officer from Hsenwi police station told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that “the man is being questioned” but he did not reveal any further details.

The girl comes from a family of ordinary villagers who do not understand legal proceedings or how to file a case, said family member Zaw Lwin.

Khon Gaung added that the case needed to be handled with due process in accordance with the law.

Sexual assault and domestic violence cases are not uncommon in Burmese society but many cases are neither reported nor receive attention from law enforcement.

According to women rights groups, average Burmese citizens are generally unfamiliar with legal processes and do not know who to contact for help in such instances. These groups say that police do not take these cases seriously and instead suggest solving them on a community level.