Police Charge Young Woman in Lieu of Main Suspect Accused of Running Illegal Lottery

Mrauk U: Local police in Mrauk-U in Arakan State have arrested and charged a young woman from a rural village in the area for dealing an illegal lottery in lieu of the main suspect in the crime, allegedly after police received bribes and released the accused.

Mrauk U Entrace gate

The young woman was identified as 22-year-old Ma Hla Hla from Htamarite Village in Mrauk-U Township, and she was reportedly arrested as a substitute for the accused, Daw Ma Hla Saw from Maheingan Village in the area.

“The police had targeted her mother because she has the same name as the main suspect, who was arrested and released after taking bribes, but they could not find her so they arrested her daughter instead. Now she is in custody at the police station in Mrauk-U,” said a local social volunteer who is advocating for her release.

According to the source, the crime police team led by officer U Kyaw Soe arrested Daw Ma Hla Saw, who is a resident of Maheingin Village in downtown Mrauk-U and a central dealer of the illegal lottery “Che-Hti” in the area, and seized lottery tickets in the first week of January in the market of the town.

The police team was said to have already reported the arrest of Daw Ma Hla Saw to higher level police authorities in Arakan State. “After arresting Daw Ma Hla Saw in the market, the police team detained her at their station, but they released her after taking a bribe of one million kyat even though her case had already been reported to the state-level in-charge of police. That is why the police had to look for another Ma Hla Saw from the area so as to frame her in place of the accused. They found one in nearby Htamarite Village, but as they could not find her in her house, they arrested her daughter Ma Hla Hla instead of her and brought her to the police station,” said the social volunteer.

He added that they police plain clothes arrested Ma Hla Hla from her house without raiding it or telling her anything about her arrest.

He said that her relatives and the administrator of her village have gone to the police station and demanded they release her as she is innocent, but the police station is continuing to hold her in place of Che-Hti dealer Daw Ma Hla Saw.

“The police are afraid that they will be dismissed or suspended if the authorities look into the case and find no accused in custody. That is why they are continuing to hold her in their station and charging her in the place of the main accused,” he said.

He added that her relatives and village elders have complained of the matter to the office of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party in Mrauk-U.