The Kachin Independence Organisation/Army (KIO/KIA) has increased taxes from villagers struggling to survive in areas controlled by the armed group in troubled northern Shan State.
“The KIO/KIA Central Committee has decided to continue collecting taxes in northern Shan State even though we understand that people are facing economic hardship after the military coup,” the group’s spokesperson, Col Naw Bu, told SHAN. He explained that the armed group has introduced various tax schemes for businesses and individuals.
“We’ve already determined how much tax we’ll collect from businesses… Our frontline soldiers will collect taxes from people.”
According to locals, the KIO/KIA has increased tax revenues in Nam Kham Township since last year.
“KIA soldiers have distributed their business cards to shopkeepers. If they don’t report to them (to arrange payment), armed KIA soldiers come to the shopkeeper’s house and threaten them,” he said. Last year, a shop paid $160 was paid and twice that amount this year.
A man who spoke to SHAN on condition that his name remain secret said the KIO/KIA collects money from vehicles passing through the checkpoints between Kutkai, Muse and Nam Kham.
The other armed groups in the area such as the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the regime’s numerous People Militia Forces are also collecting taxes from civilians.