By SAI HSENG LENG
Authorities in three Shan State towns have arrested and detained more than 80 people for breaking a curfew order put in place as a COVID-10 prevention mechanism.
The individuals have been detained in Muse, Tachileik and Taunggyi.
Since mid-May, people have not allowed to leave their homes between midnight and 4:00 a.m.
Thaung Tun, who is working with the Garuna Social Volunteer Team in Muse, said that local authorities have been cracking down on those out after curfew in Muse town since September 2.
Those who are arrested are typically charged with violating the Natural Disaster Management Law or Article 188 of the Penal Code, for disobeying an order issued by a civil servant.
“Among those detained, some are drug addicts. We seized both motorbikes and vehicles. We systematically transferred them to the police station,” Thaung Tun told SHAN.
People who had medical documents showing that they needed to seek care were reportedly released.
Of 30 people initially arrested in Muse, now 15 are facing charges of violating the curfew. Those sentenced are expected to serve up to one month in prison in Lashio. However, the law allows for longer prison sentences of up to six months.
Chan Myae Saw, a General Administration Department (GAD) officer in Tachileik, said that they had arrested 22 people for breaking curfew in the eastern Shan State township.
“They are charged with violating Article 188. We also raided two KTV shops last night,” the GAD officer told SHAN on Friday.
Taunggyi GAD officer Phyo Min Hteik said that authorities in the state capital had arrested more than 30 people. they arrested more than 30 curfew breakers in Taunggyi city.
“Imprisoning people for violating curfews, quarantine, and physical distancing directives is almost always disproportionate as well as counterproductive for reducing threats to public health,” Human Rights Watch reported in May.
Travel in Shan State has been increasingly restricted as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise.
At the time of reporting, Burma had 1,419 confirmed cases, 385 recoveries, and eight deaths.