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Published on Wednesday, 05 December 2012 21:19
Thirimingalar Market seen at 3 am on November 20 (Photo – Win Myint Kyaw/EMG)
Vendors at Yangon biggest vegetable market said they often received threats and violence from local small gangs who wanted money.
“I have to pay the car parking fee to the Market Development Affairs Committee. I also have to pay extra parking fee of 3,000 kyats to gangsters,” said a fruit stall owner Kyaw Thu at the Thirimingalar Market, Hlaing Township, Yangon. “The gangsters and the market official seem to have good relationship. People are now calling this market as a ‘black zone’.”
Another Thirimingalar Market vendor said the gangs often used violence to intimidate them.
“I paid between 500 kyats and 1,000 kyats for a vending spot to the market committee. Yet, I have to pay another 200,000 kyats to a gang for one time. Last month, a gangster hit me because I refused to pay the extortion money,” tomato seller Daw Ni said.
Kyaw Sint, a police officer stationed at the market, said the vendors were facing “threats every day”.
“As far as I know there are 5 to 6 gangs at the market. They keep operating inside the market although we did arrest some of them,” Kyaw Sint said.
A driver was beaten by the gangsters in the morning of November 28, according to vegetable dealer Ko Hteit.
“They also broke windshields because some drivers refused to pay them for the parking lots,” Ko Hteit added.
“The incidents are happening daily. The authorities know that,” he said. “We believe it happens due to the lack of rules and regulations at the market,” Ko Hteit said.
A responsible person from the Market Development Affairs Committee said that his office was “not able to control these gangsters as well.”
“There should more police officers to control the gangsters,” the person said.