Three charity staff arrested in Hlaing Tharyar

Three staff members from the Thukha Kari charity group were arrested by the junta’s armed forces in Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar Township on Sunday morning, an eyewitness told Myanmar Now. 

Among those arrested were the organisation’s chairperson and founder, former journalist Shwe Hmone. 

The Thukha Kari charity group had assisted with transporting Covid-19 patients to hospitals throughout 2020, and since the February 1 military coup, had been providing medical treatment to injured protesters and funeral services for those killed by the regime. 

Members of the group had also rescued demonstrators trapped by the military and police during crackdowns.

The eyewitness to the arrest said that Shwe Hmone and her staff members had encountered the armed forces near the Pan Hlaing Bridge in Hlaing Tharyar at 8:00 a.m. while heading into the area to donate goods to vulnerable people in the area. 

Hlaing Tharyar is an industrial zone on the outskirts of Yangon where many migrant workers reside in makeshift housing in order to work at factories in the area.

“Firstly, two women were arrested [by the armed forces] and the driver of their car drove away. Then the situation became intense. The armed forces asked one of the women to call the driver back and they carried out an inspection. Then, they arrested all three persons and seized the car. I don’t know where they were taken,” the eyewitness told Myanmar Now. 

The eyewitness said that the soldiers who made the arrests were reportedly from the notorious 77th Light Infantry Division, linked to past brutal protest crackdowns and human rights abuses perpetrated in ethnic states. 

On March 3, the junta’s armed forces also assaulted three volunteers from the Mon Myat Seikhtar rescue team who had been working in North Okkalapa, treating those injured in shootings by the military and police.

CCTV footage that went viral on social media showed several police officers brutally beating the medics with batons and the butts of their shotguns. The police also shot at the windows of the rescue team’s ambulance.

That night, armed forces raided the office of the Free Funeral Service Society, founded by former actor Kyaw Thu, in Yangon’s North Okkalapa Township. They also seized office documents, computers and phones from the office and destroyed property on the premises.

The junta later sued the organisation’s leaders under Section 505(a) of the penal code for allegedly supporting the civil disobedience movement and accused them of misusing organisational funds.


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