MANDALAY — Recent robberies during which one student was killed and another man injured in separate incidents in Kyaukse Township and Mandalay on Wednesday night have frightened locals.
Ko Nay Min Htet, 19, a final year student from Kyaukse Government Technical Institute, Mandalay Region, was playing games on his mobile phone while travelling with his friend on a motorcycle when three men tried to grab his phone.
When their motorcycle fell over and the three men proceeded to attack them, Ko Nay Min Htet was stabbed to death and his friend was injured.
“His friend said Nay Min Htet requested the robbers not take their phones, but the angry robbers beat him and stabbed him so he died on the spot,” U Toe Wai Phyo, uncle of deceased Ko Nay Min Htet, told The Irrawaddy.
Since Ko Nay Min Htet was from Naypyitaw, his parents are now in Kyaukse to bring his body home.
The three robbers, Ko Min Khant Kyaw, Ko Aung Thu Hein and Ko Min Chit Aung were arrested and are being held in police custody for causing injury and murder, according to a representative from Kyaukse Township police station.
However, police have said the incident was not in fact related to robbery but rather due to a dispute between the youth, which lead to the fight and murder, according to their investigation.
Locals from Kyaukse said such murders are rare in the town and that they now worry about their children going out at night.
“There are many crimes such as robbery of mobile phones and motorcycles. We also witness fights between youth, however yesterday’s incident was so brutal that we feel [it is] unsafe to let our children go out during the night,” said U Ko Ko Lwin, a local member of 88 Generation Peace and Open Society.
In a separate incident on the same night, in Mandalay’s Maha Aung Myay Township, a man’s throat was slashed and his motorcycle robbed.
Ko Kyaw Oo, 44, was sitting on his parked motorcycle and talking on his mobile phone when an unknown man approached and slashed his throat before riding away on the motorcycle.
The police said Ko Kyaw Oo was rushed to Mandalay General Hospital for medical treatment and is still in critical condition.
“We are [looking] to arrest the culprit and the case was registered at Maha Aung Myay police station under robbery and causing harm which could be punished with up to life in prison,” Police Colonel Myo Aung, police chief of Mandalay District told The Irrawaddy.
Although the police said there has been no significant increase in the number of crimes in Mandalay Region, they admitted that robbery tactics and injuries inflicted have become more brutal.
“The crime rate is not increasing significantly but the way the criminals hurt their victims has become more brutal. The speed of the spread of news on social media has become faster so it is known more quickly than before and so causes fear in the public,” Police Col. Myo Aung explained.
In recent months, the robbers use more brutal methods on their victims to rob their mobile phones, money or motorcycles, causing the victims more serious injuries or sometimes death.
Earlier this month, a woman and man were shot by a gunman who tried to rob them. The woman died almost immediately while the man remains in hospital recovering from his injuries. The gunman was caught on the spot by locals and handed over to police for arrest. He was later brought to court charged with robbery and murder.
“Not only Mandalay, but other regions also are quite unsafe for the public, especially those who travel during the night time. We are boosting ‘Operation Eagle’ for anti-narcotics and anti-crime, division-wide, and doing as much as we can to ensure the safety of the public,” said Police Col. Myo Aung.