MANDALAY – Five prospectors who found a jade boulder weighing 8.7 tons have been charged with theft in Kachin State’s Lone Kin jade mining region.
According to police, U Nay Tun—the Deputy Director of Myamar Gems Enterprise office of Lone Kin—filed a lawsuit against prospectors Htoo Zaw, Mon Khaung, Naing Win, Wa Lone and Myo Khin, accusing them of forcibly interfering with the security who stopped them from taking the jade boulder from the mine site.
“We are still trying to arrest them… however, it is difficult to find them,” said a police officer from Lone Kin police station.
The lawsuit was filed on Sunday under Article 382 of the Burmese Penal Code, which outlines punishment for theft specifically involving injury or death of others in order for the crime to be carried out.
The prospectors reportedly found the jade boulder on the premises of Tauk Pa Kyae jade mining company on April 26. After a brief confrontation with security, the prospectors took the boulder and stored it in a primary school compound.
After negotiations at a later date, the company gave the prospectors 130 million kyats (US$95,191), and the jade boulder was handed over to the Myanmar Gems Enterprise Office in Myitkyina.
The boulder is currently in an office of the gems and jewelry department in Myitkyina. Myanmar Gems Enterprise affiliated with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.
According to local jade miners, the prospectors were sued in vain, because the negotiation with the company had already been completed and a settlement had been reached.
“It is the custom here that prospectors go into the areas of the mining companies in the evening, after the mines have closed, and look for jade. They used to find precious stones sometimes, and no one was there to stop them,” said jade miner U Zaw Moe Htet.
“Bringing a lawsuit against them despite negotiations with the company is the act of a tyrant. It is targeted at oppressing the prospectors for finding such a big and precious jade boulder, and this should be stopped,” he added.