Suspects in Murder of Migrant Family Arrested in Karen State

By Lawi Weng 20 December 2018

Two people were detained yesterday in Myaing Kalay, Hpa-an Township in Karen State, on suspicion of the murders of a Myanmar migrant family of four in Mae Sot, Thailand according to police in Karen State, Myanmar.

The two suspects—Ko Swe, 29, and Ko Zaw Zaw, 28—are said to be ethnic Arakanese from Rakhine State.

The police officer, who requested anonymity, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that the men detained in Myaing Kalay on Wednesday had fled across the border at the town of Mae Sot in a bid to escape arrest.

They went into hiding in Myaing Kalay, the hometown of one of their wives, according to the police.

As the incident happened in Mae Sot, a town on the Thai side of the border with Myanmar, Myanmar police have to extradite the suspects to Thailand, according to the police source. The case will be handled by the Thai police force after the suspects are escorted back to the border town.

“We are sending them back to Myawaddy Police Station,” said the police officer.

Myanmar police in Myawaddy, the town on the Myanmar side of the border across from Mae Sot, are cooperating with their Thai counterparts to investigate the case.

The incident happened when the two suspects were intoxicated and causing noise disturbances to the neighboring homes. When a member of the victim family complained to them a quarrel ensued. The two suspects beat the mother and father of the family to death using an iron rod and a length of wood, according to the police officer.

This counters previous reports that the quarrel broke out over a cow.

After the suspects fled to Myaing Kalay, police received a tipoff about their whereabouts from a member of the Myanmar migrant community in Thailand who knew the suspects, according to the police officer.

The Myanmar migrant family, which included a baby of 4 months and a four-year-old boy who were also murdered on Dec. 16, was living in a hut outside Mae Sot and made a living cutting sugar cane and tending cattle in the area.