On March 25, 2019, a farm worker riding a motorcycle was beaten with a rifle butt and arbitrarily arrested by Burma Army soldiers near Mong Pan town.
At 8.30 pm that day, Loong Kaew, age 44, was travelling to visit his home in Kengtawng, when he met about 20 Burma Army soldiers from LIB 520 at Ho Kho (Bridge), on the road to Sao Kawli shrine just outside Mong Pan town.
The soldiers stopped him and asked if he was a Shan soldier. He answered: “I am not a Shan soldier, but I am Shan.” Hearing his answer, the soldiers became angry and one of them beat him with a rifle butt several times in the shoulder. They then took him to the local police station, and handed him over to the police. He did not know what charge he was arrested for.
The police asked Loong Kaew if he knew anyone in Mong Pan. He said that he knew Loong Kyaw, the Wan Koong Kaeng village headman. The police then phoned the headman and asked if he knew Loong Kaew. The headman said he did and told them that Loong Kaew was just an ordinary civilian and was not affiliated with any armed group. The headman then went to guarantee Loong Kaew at the police station at 11:30 pm and the police released him.
Loong Kaew is the son of Loong Daw Na and Pa Sa, fromn Wan Ton Hoong/quarter 5 of Keng Tawng town. He had temporarily come to work as an onion farmer around Nam Tawng in Mong Pan, and used to travel quite often to visit his relatives in Kengtawng.
LIB 520 is based in Mong Pan, under the control of Military Operations Command 17 in Mong Pan, and under the Eastern Central Regional Command in Kholam, southern Shan State.
There are troops from various armed groups active in the Mong Pan area, including the Burma Army, government militia and the Restoration Council of Shan State/ Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), which is a signatory of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. This human rights abuse occurred during the four-month unilateral ceasefire declared by the Burma Army.
On March 11-12, 2019, RCSS/SSA met the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) and the Burma Army negotiation team in Naypyidaw to discuss how to avoid conflict and proceed with the peace process.