K500 mil­lion jade fraud claim made in Man­dalay

The Myanmar Times - - News - Kyawkoko@mm­times.com KYAW KO KO

A NUM­BER of gems deal­ers at the Maha Aung Myay Gems Trad­ing Cen­tre in Man­dalay say they have been de­frauded out of more than K500 mil­lion (US$390,000) in fin­ished jade prod­ucts by a dodgy bro­ker.

The al­leged fraud vic­tims held a press con­fer­ence on Oc­to­ber 25 at the Man­dalay Me­dia Cen­tre in an at­tempt to push au­thor­i­ties to solve the mat­ter quickly.

Ko Tin Ngwe, Ko Naing Lin Oo, Ko Myo Thet and Ko Tun Lin said they had given a num­ber of fin­ished jade prod­ucts to a bro­ker on Septem­ber 21, in the pres­ence of wit­nesses, who had promised to ar­range sales for them. A man by the name of U Aung Kyaw Soe is the al­leged scam artist.

“I started work­ing with this trader around two months ago,” said Ko Naing Lin Oo. “He took fin­ished prod­ucts from me on Septem­ber 21, say­ing he would show them to another trader. I gave him one jade neck­lace and eight rings to­talling more than K109 mil­lion.”

“When I [later] asked him to give them back, he replied that he was still ar­rang­ing a sale. I re­alised I had been cheated by mid-Oc­to­ber and filed a com­plaint at the po­lice sta­tion,” he added.

On Oc­to­ber 5, the traders com­plained to po­lice, who opened a fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter un­der sec­tion 420 of the pe­nal code.

“We filed a com­plaint at the po­lice sta­tion shortly after we re­alised that we were cheated. Po­lice ques­tioned and de­tained the fraud­ster. He was re­leased on bail after one day. He said that the jew­ellery had been sold or pawned,” said Ko Tin Ngwe.

He added that the de­frauded traders did not own the jew­ellery them­selves and that their losses would cause sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to the traders, fraud is com­mon at the Man­dalay mar­ket. Some called on the gov­ern­ment to rem­edy the sit­u­a­tion in com­ing changes to Myan­mar’s Gem­stones Law.

“We deal in gems on the ba­sis of trust, not le­gal doc­u­ments ... It would be bet­ter if the amend­ments to the gems law, which are cur­rently being drafted, recog­nised this fact,” said U Tin Maung, an em­ployee at the Maha Aung Myay Gems Trad­ing Cen­tre.

– Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

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