Border Guard Force frees journalists, vows to punish soldiers who detained them

The Border Guard Force (BGF) in Kayin state released two journalists on Thursday and said it would punish the soldiers who detained them.

Frontier Myanmar reporter Naw Betty Han and Myanmar Times photographer Mar Naw were detained in the border town of Myawaddy on Wednesday evening. 

Frontier said in a statement Thursday afternoon that it had not heard from its reporter and was concerned for her safety.

Local BGF commander colonel Saw Chit Thu later told Myanmar Now the pair had been released and would be brought to Kayin’s capital Hpa-An.

Their captors would be punished with up to 30 days in detention, he added. 

Naw Betty Han sent a text message to a Frontier colleague on Wednesday afternoon informing them she had been detained. She has previously reported on the business interests of the Kayin BGF, a Tatmadaw-backed group.

Soldiers from the group stopped the journalists at the No. 1 border gate in Myawaddy and made the arrests after finding notes about casinos in Naw Betty Han’s notebook, Saw Chit Thu said.

He has ordered an investigation into their detention, he added. 

Frontier said in a follow-up statement on Thursday evening that Naw Betty Han “has been released and is safe”.

Reached by Myanmar Now, Mar Naw said he had been released but was not sure if the BGF would bring him to Hpa-An. 

Additional reporting by Aung Nyein Chan

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