K500 million jade fraud claim made in Mandalay
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