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Issue No. 77, 2004
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Breaking News


November 19, 2004, Taramon/ Sangkhlaburi

Refugees who recently fled to Thai Burma border reported that Mon people who cannot speak Burmese were discriminated and abused by the Burma Army during its military operation against the ethnic armed group.

The villagers who could not answer questions in Burmese demanded by the State Peace and Development Councils soldiers were taken to a military base and freed after being drilled over and over to speak many times in Burmese, says an elder woman, Mrs. Mi Mon (not her real name) from a group of five families who left her village in southern Ye and have arrived onto Thai soil near the border last week. When asked what kinds of questions the BA usually asked, she said that the soldiers wanted to know what food or curry was cooked, they would come around to the houses during the cooking hours.

A young woman, Miss Mi Soila was taken to the army base because she couldnt speak or even understand the Burmese when a soldier asked her what kind of curry she was cooking, said the elder woman who arrived to the Thai border with her grandchildren.  Mrs. Mi Yin of the group agreed with the elder womans claim.

Mrs. Mi Htay (not her real name) from Wae Kwao village who is now staying in the Halockhnee Mon Refugee camp said that her nephew was punished for not speaking Burmese properly and ordered to clear grass and bushes after he didnt understand a question in Burmese asked by soldiers while traveling outside the village.

Some of the villagers, Htay said, were fined between 100,000 and 300,000 Kyats (Burmese currency) for not being able to speak Burmese. They were accused of supporting the Hongsawatoi Restoration Party (HRP), Mon armed group, for they did not reply to answers shouted by soldiers.  The BA accused the villagers of being keep secret for pretend as cannot speak Burmese and many have been tortured because they cannot speak Burmese language, she added.

A village headman of Wae Kwao (Pauk Pin Kwin) from Ye Byu Township, Tanasserim Division told Kao Wao that most of the villagers in southern Ye area cannot speak Burmese and assimilation policy is used by the SPDC soldiers while staying in the villages.  He and his family fled from the village to escape from being killed for he was accused as a Mon armed group sympathizer. He said that the SPDC in Ye township, Mon state, deployed troops to capture him and villagers during his trip to the border.

Civilian in this area rarely has any citizenship cards or ID cards since the immigration officers cannot go into this area. Many villages in southern Ye and Ye Byu area is defined by the SPDC as a Black Area (free-fire zone) and they also lost the chance to vote in the general election in 1990.

Non-licensed cars seized in Mon and Karen States               


(Taramon and Banyar Toay: November 14, 2004) 

Sangkhlaburi -- Hundreds of cars without licenses in Mon and Karen states were seized while cars belonging to the cease-fire groups were for the moment, being overlooked, sources from the Mon business community said. Sources from the capital of Mon state said that Southeast Commands commander last week gave them the chance for the cease-fire groups to own the non licensed cars.  Senior members of the groups can own cars, a Mon business man close to the New Mon State Party told Kao Wao.

A money exchanger in Pha An township, Karen state, said that over 200 non-licensed cars were seized by the police. Some of the cars were being stored away in hiding places, out-of-the-way areas where the police usually dont go.  Nai Sein, a Mon businessman in the border town of Three Pagodas Pass whose cars were seized said that about 1000 non-licensed cars were seized and parked in the car park of the Moulmein based Southeast Command.

Nai Ron, a Mon youth from Moulmein , said that cars belonging to Buddhist monks and the NMSP were not seized.  About 100 cars have been parked in the NMSP office area in Moulmein town, the youth added.

The SPDC controlled organization, USDA, have been looking for illegal cars in urban areas. Authorities have drawn the line at seizing cars in remote areas, a source from Ye township, Mon state said.  The cars arent parked in town, but in the villages, the police and soldiers cannot easily go around to find and check for them.

Nai Eindu who lives in Myawaddy border town said that about 19 non-licensed vehicles in Myawaddy were seized then taken to the capital of Karen state last week as part of the crackdown.

19 vehicles in Three Pagodas Pass town have been seized and parked at police stations, a Mon businessman who trades along the border area said. The USDA members have joined hands with the police to find concealed cars in Moulmein , he added.

A Thai businessman in Sangkhalaburi border town told Kao Wao that 35 cars belong to his group were seized. They asked for 3000 Baht for each vehicle, said a member of Thai-Myanmar Cultural and Economic Cooperation and Association.

Some 70 cars were seized last month and were reclaimed after the Thai owners bribed the town authorities. The authorities were bribed for about 3000 Baht each, he added. A Moulmein resident heard a police officer happily saying that this was the golden era.

Relationship between Burma Army and cease-fired groups


(Taing Taw, November 14, 2004)

Democratic Karen Buddhist Army says that it will fight against SPDC in response to a rumor that the DKBA must give up their arms to the military junta.

Captain Lay Winn of the DKBA at the Three Pagodas Pass said that the SPDC forced its party to draw up a list of its arms and members and give it to them, a Mon politician quoted Lay Winn as saying.

He says that Lay Winn had looked at the probable area of confrontation, which is about three, or four kilometers from the Thai Burma border town in preparation to fight back when its troops were pressured to give up their arms.  Karen National Union (KNU), he added, is also being deployed around the area, which is not so far from the Three Pagodas Pass.

Reflecting the tense nature of relationship after General Khin Nyunt and MI (Military Intelligence) were dismissed, the Burma Army commander in the Three Pagodas Pass has threatened Lay Winn and the DKBA group on a number of occasions, says another resident.

Lay Winn was forced not to join a religious ceremony while the (Burma Army) Commander was there, says the resident to Kao Wao under condition of anonymity.

Secretary 1, Lieutenant Generals Thein Sein and Mauna Bo, the chief commanders of the southern Burma command and other ministers, called on the cease-fire groups in Southern Burma two days ago to talk about the condition of the cease-fire agreements.

New Mon State Party (NMSP) liaison office in Sangkhlaburi said that its leaders including Vice-President General Htaw Mon recently met the SPDC leaders to talk about the process of the cease-fire agreement.  The SPDC told our leaders not to change the truce process because of the ousting of Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, Chief Liaison Officer Mr. Nai Ong Shein said.

 Today, the leaders of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army and the SPDC met in the capital of Karen state.


(Reported by Taramon: November 2, 2004)

The Burmese junta has seized an additional 350 acres of land in southern Mon State including family run plantations with the former farmers being forced into providing unpaid forced labour on a daily rotation basis.

According to a Mon politician who recently arrived to Thai Burma border, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) junta is building up troop base along southern Mon state to crackdown on Hongsawatoi Restoration Party, the splinter group who broke off from the New Mon State Party in November, 2001.

Land confiscation has intensified over the last 3 years forcing villagers to flee to the border area and other places to escape forced labour and destitution, he said. Some having no means to support themselve may decide to migrate to Thailand. Two villages must provide force labor on a daily basis or on a rotating system to clear  bushes, cut small trees, and construct the military camp, added the politician.

One village has approximately 200 households and must provide the labor for the rotating system. Other villages must pay for construction equipment and other materials such as bamboo and small trees, the politician said.

Local people have now started to arrive at Halockhanee Mon refugee camp, but want to return home to their stolen land but fear reprisals and forced labour; living in the rural area is sometimes dangerous as fighting has occurred between insurgents and the BA. The Mon refugees face dismal prospects of ever returning home to their land and may have to live for several years warehoused in the camp and are restricted from leaving the camp to work freely in Thailand to support their family. 

For those who decide not to go to the camp and migrate to Malaysia or Thailand to look for work, face a daunting challenge in the hands of traffickers, they would rather take the risk than stay in the camp, where there is not enough humanitarian assistance. At the moment, there is no other area for people to find safety and people in southern Ye township face dangerious situation due to fighting.

Recently, satellite phones bought from neighboring Thailand and used for business and for villagers with family who work in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, were seized by the local BA led by colonel Than Toe.

In the evenings, beautiful women are sought out from the villages to go to the military camp and provide entertainment, such as singing and pouring beer or alcohol for the partying senior military commanders including Than Toe, says a young Mon from the area who does not want to identified out of fear of arrest.

The village headmen must use his own money or find ways to award prizes (money in an envelop) to the women singers for entertainment, he says. The women must join the commanders for hours of Karoke singing and put up with their drunken and sometimes abusive behaviour. This has forced many of the young women to flee from their villages to find work in Thailand, where had never thought of going before and do it out of fear and necessity, according to an interview with them last month on Thai soil by Kao Wao.

They say they have no hope for the future after their land or plantations were confiscated by the junta, the new battalion that moved to the area is No. 31 based in Thanbyuzayat town. Some Mon political analysts believe that the move is not to crackdown on the HRP but to establish control in the area first then build up Burman military influence within the surrounding Mon community.

The military commanders of the SPDC do not want to go that area for they have no influence on the local people, so to gain control over peoples lives they started to found organizations such as the National Woman Affair, the USDA, and other organizations, the politician said. The most important thing they have wanted to do was first build a government school, not a Mon National school.


(Kao Wao: September 30, 2004)

Mon guerrilla leader Colonel Pan Nyunt escaped with injuries after a bloody sabotage in a dense jungle outpost near Thailand-Burmas southern border.

A spokesperson of the HRP (Hongsarwatoi Restoration Party) Mr. Kon Chan Nai said an armed group intruded the HRP camp on September 18 at dawn and launched a fierce attack opening fire on everyone and razed the area, burning down all the buildings.

Colonel Pan Nyunts five children and two guerrillas were killed while he and his wife escaped with wounds during the assault. The intruders targeted all people including women and children on sight and arrested an HRP member Nai Yakha.

The HRP office assume the attack was jointly operated by its former alliance the Karen National Union (KNU) and local Muslim armed groups who are also based in the area.  However, the KNU has not formally confirmed the attack but General Tamalarpaw of the KNU told the local media that the action was taken by the KNU and Muslim forces of about 50-60 fighters since the HRP had been collecting taxes in the Karens territory.

In March 2004, 14 Mon guerrillas led by Captain Taung Kyaw on route to a KNU military position to buy arms carrying 8 million Kyats (Burmese currency) were killed by the KNU troop near Minhla, Ye Towhship of southern Mon State

Colonel Pan Nyunt broke away from the New Mon State Party with 153 troops and formed the HRP in November 2001.  Even though the KNU has informally supported the HRP when it first broke away, the relationship between the two has soured after the Mons began collecting tax in the KNUs administrative zone.


(Based on MUL and Thai Matichorn news)

District officer of Thapsake, Prachuabkhirikhan Province Nai Prasart Prasertying, on September 25, reported news of an attack by the ABMU (Karen Muslim) force on the headquarters of HRP run by Col. Pan Nyunt near the Thai Burma border opposite Huphak, Nar Hu Kwang Village Thapsake District, Prachuabkhirikhan Province .  The attack resulted in a number of people getting killed; others were wounded severely and were brought to Thailand to be treated in hospitals.

At the moment, the district officer planned for the refugees of civilians to stay temporarily at Ban Thung Dar Kaow School in Na Hukwan.

Dr. Sanit Archipsamut, the director of Prachuabkhirikhan Hospital, said Col Pan Nyunt, age 50, has severe wounds incurred from the combat and at the moment is recovering and receiving operation as he was shot in several important points. The Thai soldiers from Surasri Task Force will be providing security until he is discharged from the hospital.

The image of KNU is unbelievable for killing innocent women and children.  Even though the HRP made mistake, I feel very sad for that.  I cant believe how the KNU will fight for democracy and freedom in their country ( Burma ), a leader of Thai Mon community Nai Pornhongsar told Kao Wao after visiting the patient at the hospital. 

According to Nai Sunthorn of Mon Unity League , Thailand based umbrella organization, various Mon communities urged the MUL to observe the situationRecently, the MUL members and Chairman Nai Damrong visited the victims who are temporarily provided with shelter and treated in the hospitals near Thailand Burma border.

Mon State at war


(Based on IMNA Report and Kao Wao: September 9, 2004)

The Burma Army has killed a villager and arrested eight others on suspicion of supporting a Mon rebel group that operates in the south part of Ye township.  

A train ticket seller from Pauk-pin-gwin village, Mr. Nai Chit Htwe, 35, was killed by Infantry Battalion No.273, of the Burma Army, according to Hongsarwatoi Restoration Party that is active in the area.

Colonel Nai Pan Nyunt, the leader of HRP said the victim was killed on August 27, 2004, and; that eight villagers from Mi-taw-hlar-kalay were arrested after a clash between the Mon rebels and the Burma Army broke out on August 29.  In the fighting four Burmese soldiers and a 14 years old schoolboy were killed.

A villager told IMNA, that the eight were detained on suspicion of supporting the rebels by hiding them in their villages and providing foods for them.

Killing and arresting villagers with inhumane torture is a common habit of the Burmese Army.  It is cruel and inhumane to our people.   They (the Burmese Army) brought the headmen from Magyi and Mi-taw-hla villages and killed them. And they lied to the villagers that headmen were killed in the fighting with our HRP, said Colonel Pan Nyunt over the phone interview with the IMNA.

There have been 15 battles in the area, including ambushes and skirmishes, between the Burmese Army and the HRP, Nai Pan Nyunt confirmed.

The Mon people in the area have sympathized with the rebels for years and the Burmese military have launched an intensive military campaign to wipe out the armed Mon group and take control of the whole area.

Burmese soldiers regularly arrest the villagers and punish them in order to prevent them from supporting the rebels.  From January to March of 2004, Tactical Command No 3 in the area killed over 10 villagers whom they accused of being rebel supporters, said Nai Kasauh Mon of the Human Rights Foundation of Monland.  

The area is designated by the Burma Army as a black zone and villagers have been restricted in visiting their farms since last year when the army started an offensive aimed at wiping out the Mon guerrilla group.

They are only allowed to work at farms that are within seven miles of their villages from 6 a.m to 6 p.m.  If they violate these conditions they will be shot or tortured.  Normally they stay at their farms but since the curfew was issued, they have been unable to stay overnight and have lost a lot of time traveling back and forth, complained a farmer.  

In the eastern part of Ye township, Mon and Karen villagers have been ordered to use traveling cards with attached photos.  The cards are issued by local commanders as a means of separating guerrillas from ordinary villagers, a source from a Karen village reported.

In Ye township alone, the Burma Army has expanded its field strength to 11 Infantry and Light Infantry Battalions and land have been confiscated to provide quarters for them.

Because of the recent offensives launched by the Burmese Army in the area, about 20% of the estimated local population of over 50, 000 have been displaced.  Many have fled to the Thai border area or to Mon refugee resettlement camps, according to Kyone-kanya village headmen.



(By Banyear Toay, Kao Wao: September 8, 2004)


The Burma Army is forcing villagers to pay the salaries of school teachers, according to a village headman in southern Ye, Mon State .  He said the local commander in southern Ye township has ordered village headmen like himself to collect funds for government school teachers starting from this month.


Speaking under condition of anonymity, the headman quoted the local commander as saying: Every village must provide 50,000 Kyats to pay the salary of civil servants. He said the commander had issued the order during a meeting with local authorities and village headmen.


A central committee member of the New Mon State Party said the SPDC is building police stations in front of the Mon national schools in Ywar Thit and Yong Reh villages in order to upset the popular Mon schools which have been run by the local community and Mon National Education Committee (MNEC) for several years.


The villagers are disappointed because when General Maung Bo visited the area two months ago he said he supported the teaching of the Mon language to children in schools.  But in practice, the SPDC authorities are trying to disturb the Mon national schools, said Nai Mon Chai, a teacher with the MNEC.


In the past, government schools were not established in this area due to strong support for self-help Mon national schools by local communities.  But when the military government launched operations against a Mon armed group operating in southern Ye, it started to build government schools in an effort to assimilate the local ethnic population. .

Investigative report on Burma s war and drug


(By Banyar Toay: August 15, 2004)

Andaman Sea turned red while drug dealers and smugglers killed each other during the heavy rains in the monsoon season. In the first week of July, a contraband ship believed to be carrying methamphetamines and heroin departed from Rangoon was robbed when about 30 smugglers were killed after a fight for the possession of the drugs in the Andaman Sea ( Martaban Gulf ).

Local sources from Ye, Mon State, said about 800 kilograms of heroin were later seized by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) authorities and Military Intelligence Service (MIS) in the Mon coastal village after the boats captain and crewmen were killed in the sea.

The SPDC authorities did not officially report the detail of the bloody sea battle but local villagers said it occurred when the ships engine broke down in the middle of the sea and the Captain approached Hnit Karen village to find some mechanics to repair the boats engine.  The mechanics secretly plotted with some of the crewmembers and killed the Captain and other crewmembers, said the source.  The SPDCs police later arrested the gang.

The source from the New Mon State Party said the smugglers killed by local pirates were from the boat owned by ethnic Kokans in Shan State who live in Rangoon after the cease-fire agreement with the military junta.  The dealer in Rangoon lost phone contact with the captain and his crew when the ship approached Hnit Karen, the boss realized that it might be pirated and informed the Mon State Police Force.  The police arrested the killers along with the booty of drugs when they tried to transport it away from the village, the source explained.  A total of 5 men were arrested and taken to Moulmine, the capital of Mon Sate.

A huge amount of drugs was spreading throughout the area when the authorities arrived after the ship owners informed the authority about the missing ship.  The NMSP source said that the mechanic who led the robbery is a retired SPDC soldier who lives in the village.

The Burmese authorities didnt report the exact amount of heroin seized, but a Thai-Burma border based Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA) reported about 850 kilograms, while Khit Pyaing news in (Burmese language) claimed that about 490 kilograms was seized.  Some of the crew, the source added, who were killed are Mon nationals from Chaung Zon Island near Moulmein because many fishermen from this community are working in Rangoon s Kyi Myin Daing port.

The ship was set adrift after it was robbed of the smuggled goods. The navy confiscated the drifting boat close to Kalar Gote Island with nobody on board and the engines tank was empty of gasoline (engine oil), the islanders said. Kalar Gote Island , in Northern Ye Township comprised of 3 villages, is inhabited with Mon fishermen and farmers.

The other source from Moulmein said that in the second week of July, the MIS from Rangoon came down to Mon state directly from Rangoon and seized a ship owned by regional Burma Army commanders in Mon State .  The ship was carrying smuggled imports such as computer games from Singapore and was seized near Moulmein , a Mon businessman who has close relation with the SPDC senior official said.  It is clear that the MI (Intelligence) and the Tatmadaw (Army) are not getting along these days, he commented.

South from that area, Tenasserim Divisions MIS branch cooperated with a Mon armed group to patrol the Andaman Sea to monitor the activities of Thai boats, the source explained. About ten soldiers led by Nai Azan, a former member of the NMSP, from the break away group runs an office in Tavoy and were involved in the sea robbery and kidnapping.  The group works with the MI for information and business interest; deals in the timber trading in the region while providing the MI with information on the activities of Thai fishermen and the neighboring countrys navy.  Their main action is to collect illegal tax or to launch attacks on illegal Thai fishing boats that operate inside Burma s marine waters. 

Even though it was notorious in the Mon community, the Mon break away group was chosen to attend the state sponsored National Convention near Rangoon added the source.


(By Taramon/ Sangkhlaburi: August 10, 2004)

Civilians are taken as porters to walk along with the Burma Army during military offensive against Karen rebels three days ago. A local witness from Taung Zun said, 80 people are taken as porters in the front line and the remaining villagers from Taung Zun, Than PaYar, Nat Eing and Sin Pyay are forced to stay with the army as stand by porters to carry ammunition and other supplies. Two Burma Army battalions have launched an offensive against Karen National Union (KNU) along the Zami river of Kyar-in Seik-kyi, Karen State .

No. 547 and No. 355 Battalions have jointly operated against the KNU No. 6 Brigade and also illegally established checkpoints (gates) to raise funds from passengers.  Some passengers and traders from the 3 Pagodas Pass Thai Burma border town have also delayed their journey.

The local source reported Karen villagers from this area have left their villages out of fear in being rounded up for portering and of being tortured.  The offensive is the first occurrence between the SPDC and KNU in this area since the beginning of the cease-fire talks.

Villagers from southern Ye flee to avoid human rights violation by the Burma Army


(By Hongsar and Banyear Toay: August 3, 2004)

Civilians from southern Mon State seeking refuge at a Mon refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border claimed they were tortured and sexually harassed by the Burmese Army soldiers.

Burmese soldiers scurry about in the jungle looking for insurgents and often target villagers when they come across any; they often stay overnight at the village demanding protection and force young women to sit together with them and guard the area during the night, Ms. Mi Charn (not real name) said during an interview.  She fled to the border area in July and is now seeking refuge in Thailand .

Often they harass the people, for example, a mother of a pretty girl was punished to cook food for the soldiers because she told the soldiers to not bother her daughter and to stay away from her. The mother was worried of sexual harassment, said the women who traveled along with ten other people from the same village. Young girls and women are targets of the BA, especially in the ethnic areas, a disturbing tactic and trend used by the military with impunity.

The SPDC soldiers also threaten and intimidate young single men by pointing guns at them, after, they routinely search and stay at the houses of beautiful women, Mr. Nai Soe from the same group said.

Young men in the village cannot see their girlfriends at nighttime for fear of torture, beating and portering by the BA, said a young man from the group.  (Visiting girls at night is an old Mon tradition of courting and is still practiced in the rural areas)

The witnesses say the SPDC soldiers of Battalion No. 273 led by Khin Kyaw Soe killed two villagers. Nai Kun Pha, the former secretary of the village and Nai Pha Dot were both accused as supporting the Mon guerillas, after shouting at them they were taken outside of their village and shot dead in cold blood.

When the villagers asked about their headmen, the SPDC soldiers said the two were shot dead, but Colonel Soe said they were jailed in Moulmein , the capital of Mon State .

The villagers later found the dead bodies in a dug out hole, the group said. Some men in the group recognized the dead men as their headmen who had been taken by the soldiers.

Later on, the men in the village were ordered to stand by and wait for hours until the SPDC called for them to porter for the soldiers to crackdown on Mon guerillas.

We were forced to porter about once a week in rotating system since last year to date, said the group. They all had experienced portering by the BA.

They receive no treatment of any kind and are often beaten and left alone to die in the jungle if they collapse. They are provided with no medicine, no rest time, and have no mosquito nets, an important item in a malaria infested jungle. Some of porters, not having enough strength to carry stuff for the battalion often break their hands and legs lugging heavy equipment and most will later contract malaria, which is lethal without the assistance of drugs, the group said.

They say that the main reason they leave their village is they cannot go and work on their farms and plantations. They need to farm food to survive; there is no other way to survive without farming.

We were allowed only once in two weeks to go to our farm and plantations, Mr. Nai Soe Mon said.

According to a young student Nai Lwe Mon, age 17, he left the school because there is no income in his family and decided to go to work in Thailand to support his family like so many thousands of other Mon.

The army also tortured a Buddhist monk in the village, accused as a rebel supporter. He was strung upside down from a tree, his legs were bound and then he was tied to the branches of a tree, his head hanging just above the ground while the soldiers beat him.


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