National Unity Government offers hefty cash rewards for theft or sabotage of military tanks, ships and aircraft 

Junta soldiers who desert from the military and manage to destroy or steal vehicles on their way out will be offered hefty cash rewards by Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG), the underground administration has announced.

The biggest payout, of either 1 billion kyat or $500,000, is offered to anyone who steals a plane, helicopter, or battleship from the junta’s forces and hands it over to the resistance, the NUG said in a statement on Thursday.  

Those who severely damage or destroy ships and aircraft can claim $300,000 while there is a $100,000 reward for those who destroy stores of tank or aircraft fuel. 

The $100,000 reward is also available for those who destroy a weapons factory, an armoury, or a tank. Resistance fighters who steal or destroy vehicles are eligible for the rewards too, said the NUG’s statement, which is signed by acting president Duwa Lashi La. 

“We have plans in place so we can give the reward money on the same day the request is submitted,” Tin Tun Naing, the NUG’s finance minister, told Myanmar Now. “They only need to be brave enough to trust us. We are ready to keep our end of the deal.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re the pilot of the craft or if you’re the engineering and maintenance team. You’re all eligible for this reward,” he added.

The rewards are designed to encourage more junta personnel to defect and to hinder the military in its efforts to use taxpayer funded weapons to murder people, he added.  

Any individual or organisation that can provide sufficient evidence of meeting the criteria will be eligible for a payout, and will not face legal action under the 1947 Public Property Protection Act, the NUG’s statement said. 

Thousands of Myanmar military ground troops have been killed in clashes with resistance fighters since last year’s coup, prompting the junta to rely more heavily on air power. 

The Myanmar Air Force has 275 active aircraft in its fleet, according to figures from Flight Global’s 2022 World Air Forces directory

Nyi Thuta, a military captain who defected last year, welcomed the NUG’s plan and said there was a good chance soldiers would take up the offer. “It doesn’t matter if they only do it for the money,” he told Myanmar Now. 

Sergeant Zaya, who was in the army for eight years before he defected following the coup, said the rewards would sound very appealing to junta personnel.

“They’re giving hundreds of thousands of dollars as rewards and there are very easy ways to destroy those vehicles,” he said. “All you have to do is put sand inside the engine and that aircraft will drop mid air. There are so many other ways too.” 

Captain Lin Htet Aung, a prominent military defector who is helping others to desert their posts, said the NUG’s announcement would deeply trouble the junta. 

“We can certainly hope for soldiers to surrender along with important vehicles, but we shouldn’t jinx it,” he said. “However, this news will shake the military to its core. I think this is another chance for junta soldiers to join the revolution.” 

Kaung Htet Aung, a defector who as a private worked for the military’s arms manufacturing wing in Pyay, said that for the NUG’s plan to work it was vital for enough support to be in place for soldiers who are interested.   

“This announcement will interest soldiers a lot, but nobody will dare to actually do it without any help,” he said. 

Tin Tun Naing said that soldiers interested in the NUG’s offer can contact several organisations, including but not limited to defector support groups such as People’s Goal and People’s Embrace.

The latest figures from People’s Embrace show that over 2,000 soldiers, including three lieutenant colonels, have defected from the military since the coup.

And defectors say many more are interested in leaving the military. Khant Ko, an army captain who deserted his post last year, said hundreds of soldiers had contacted him since the publication of a newspaper report in March that said two Myanmar army officers had been granted asylum in Australia. 

In September last year the NUG announced a $700 million budget, money that it raised from crowdfunding, donations from wealthy members of the Myanmar diaspora, and covert lotteries. 

Related Articles

Back to top button