Yangon peo­ple worry about ris­ing crime

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - HTIKE NANDA WIN htike­nan­dawin@mm­times.com

City res­i­dents are wor­ried about their safety amid ris­ing crime rates es­pe­cially af­ter the re­cent killing of a young Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion em­ployee al­legedly com­mit­ted by a taxi driver in Yangon.

CITY folk fear for their lives and worry about their se­cu­rity amid a surge in crime in the area, the lat­est of which was the rape and killing of an em­ployee of the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA), some Yangon res­i­dents told The Myan­mar Times.

“When I heard about the news of the killing of the FDA of­fi­cer, I felt like a bomb had ex­ploded in the cen­tre of the city,” said Ma Su Mon, who lives in North Dagon town­ship. “I was fright­ened al­most out of my wits.”

“I feel sad for the girl. I am wor­ried ev­ery­day, as I feel as if danger lurks around us,” she added. I do not dare to climb the stairs of my apart­ment alone, which I used to do. I do not think of hir­ing a taxi any­more.”

Ma Su Mon said the city cen­tre is not safe even at 7pm.

The FDA of­fi­cer, Shwe Yee Win, was on her way home in a taxi on Jan­uary 20, when the driver al­legedly robbed, raped and even­tu­ally killed her.

She was trav­el­ling from Hledan Cen­tre to Dagon town­ship where she lived. Th­ese are two of the busiest places in Yangon at 7 pm.

Ko Aung Kyaw Phone, a taxi driver, lamented that his in­come has dropped con­sid­er­ably since the killing.

“Our in­come has gone from bad to worse af­ter the mur­der of the FDA em­ployee,” he said. “Even men don’t trust taxi driv­ers any­more.”

He said it is very hard for taxi driv­ers to earn K10,000 ky­ats af­ter pay­ing for the rental of the car.

“There is mu­tual dis­trust be­tween pas­sen­gers and taxi driv­ers,” said Ko Aung Kyaw Phone.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, 270 rape cases were filed in 2017 in Yangon Re­gion, 41 more than the pre­vi­ous year.

Yangon Re­gion Po­lice are plan­ning to build a con­trol cen­tre to ad­dress the in­creas­ing crime in the re­gion, a po­lice spokesman said.

Spokesper­son Po­lice Ma­jor Hla Wai said the force’s of­fi­cers are more busy re­spond­ing to crime cases than they were in pre­vi­ous years, an in­di­ca­tion that law en­force­ment is struggling to keep the coun­try’s eco­nomic cap­i­tal safe.

He ex­pressed hope that by com­bin­ing tech­nol­ogy, im­prove­ments in po­lice pro­ce­dures and plan­ning, crime can be ad­dressed more ef­fec­tively.

“We plan to build a con­trol cen­tre with over 300 cameras. But we don’t know the ex­act lo­ca­tions and date yet,” he said.

“We are ne­go­ti­at­ing to in­stall th­ese cameras with pri­vate com­pa­nies,” he added. “Through the co­op­er­a­tion of the pub­lic, this tech­nol­ogy will be of great as­sis­tance to our Ea­gle Op­er­a­tion”.

Ea­gle Op­er­a­tion is a com­mu­ni­ty­based polic­ing sys­tem be­ing im­ple­mented by the Yangon Po­lice Force in 44 of the 45 town­ships in the re­gion.

The op­er­a­tion aims to ar­rest crim­i­nals and peo­ple who are break­ing the law un­der cover of dark­ness.

Photo: Thiri Lu

A prayer cer­e­mony for the late Shwe Yee Win is held at Sh­wedagon Pagoda on Sun­day.

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