Panglong residents anxious after rash of robberies

August 3

A series of alleged thefts from monasteries and residents in southern Shan State has villagers calling for increased security.

Two monasteries were reportedly burgled in the space of a week, while a market shop and a village resident also reported robberies.

“Theft cases are happening every two days. Yesterday afternoon [August 2], K3 million was stolen from the Pitaka Monastery. The money had been entrusted to the elder monk by monks [studying at the monastery]. They asked for money from him when they needed it,” a member of the monastery said. “We have CCTV records. The police came and took photos.”

The Mway Taw Monastery reported a robber on July 28, while a Pang Mont Village alerted authorities to a July 31 theft. A Panglong Market vendor also reported three women who allegedly made off with K950,000 from the shop.

“Security has worsened because they are stealing even from monasteries. Over K400,000 was stolen from the Mway Taw Monastery as well as gold worth five tical [81 grams]. And K200,000 was stolen in Pang Mont Village. There may be other, minor thefts we haven’t heard of,” the Pitaka Monastery member said.

Panglong resident Sai Naung blamed drug use for fueling a number of vices in Panglong.

“Many youths are addicted to drugs. That’s why the number of theft cases is rising. We can’t just lock up our homes and go out. Someone must stay behind. Security is very bad,” he said. “The township administrator and the police have a responsibility. Aren’t they doing their work?”