Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) soldiers in plainclothes allegedly told market vendors in Namkham they have to pay more taxes to the ethnic armed organization (EAO).
A man requesting anonymity told SHAN that the Ta’ang soldiers left cards with a phone number to pay the extra extortion fees. According to the source, the EAO started collecting money last week as part of the new arrangement that it told the business owners would continue for the next 2 to 3 years.
TNLA also forces residents to pay taxes whenever they build a new home in the town located in northern Shan State next to China, residents told SHAN.
Maj Mai Aik Kyaw, the TNLA spokesperson, confirmed with SHAN it collects taxes through its customs department, but couldn’t say if Ta’ang soldiers are taking money from the market vendors.
According to local sources, the EAO mistakenly arrested a Shan woman from her home in the town on June 15 and later released her.
In Namtu Township, TNLA soldiers beat up and detained Sai Mont, Sai Kyaw Luu and Sai Lue on June 23, according to a resident who didn’t want his name to be published. The man said the Ta’ang soldiers slapped and kicked the villagers from Ner Kho Liang at gunpoint before taking them away. He had no idea why the arrests happened.
“They’re not involved with any of the armed organisations,” said another source, who said Sai Lue is the former headman of the village in Panglon village tract.
“We won’t arrest anyone if they are not guilty,” said Maj Mai Aik Kyaw, while admitting he wasn’t briefed about this particular incident.
There is frequent fighting between several rival EAOs in Namtu Township, with soldiers often accusing villagers of supporting one side or the other.