RCSS/SSA planning to collect extortion money from Ta’ang Villages in Namtu Township

The troops from Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS / SSA) has called a meeting with villagers to collect a levy for the whole year of 2021 from the coal miners as well as those who regularly eat and drink on a daily basis in Panglong and Chaungsar Tracts in Namtu Township, northern Shan State, according to local sources.

Locals from Mansa, Narkholian and Panthapyay villages in the Panglong tract and Pankai, Yay-Oh, Nyaungpanhla and Manli villages in Chaungsa Tract were asked to attend the meeting by troops led by district commander Sai Sai Pha from RCSS/SSA.

The RCSS / SSA told villagers that they have to pay an annual tax for each business by 2021; 450,000 kyats for rice traders, 3 million kyats for wood cutting factories, 300,000 for logging, 200,000 for fuel station, 200,000 for Motorbike garrage, 700,000 kyats for lime kiln, 700,000 for pork seller, 700,000 for those selling illegal lottery tickers and 200,000 kyat for two diggit lottery ticket sellers, he told villagers in the meeting.

A villager who attended the meeting and doesn’t want to be named said, “Everyone is upset about this. In our village, we have to pay 300,000 kyat per kiln for charcoal burning houses. The charcoal kiln produces only 15 bags. For firewood, it is also restricted from cutting down large trees. You can’t cut the trees and sell firewood, we can only cut for household use. So, how can we have money to pay them. In addition to the money, they also collected half a basket of rice for each household.”

The RCSS / SSA hold meetings on December 3 and 7 at the Shan monastery in Panglong village, and the villagers were told to pay the “tax” to the relevant village officials on December 15 and can pay three times a year, according to a Panglong resident.

“This year, unlike usual, it is very difficult to work in the village. We can not go to work in China because of the disease. I cannot work in the forest because there are landmines. I urge the authorities to withdraw the tax. We are in a lot of trouble,” a villager from Nyaungpanhla told TWO.

Currently there were fighting around Pankut and Narkye villages between RCSS/SSA and TNLA.