A jade scavenger was shot dead on June 25 after security forces threatened scavengers at the Ngwe Sin Jade Mining Company in Lone Khin village tract, Hpakant Township, Kachin State.
Police officer Kyaw Swe Oo from Brigade 16, who was carrying out security measures at the company compound, fired into the air three times to threaten jade hunters who were looking for scraps illegally. However, jade scavenger Zaw Wai, 23, from Hpar Pyin village, was shot dead on the spot.
After Zaw Wai’s death, the jade scavengers captured the police officer and brought him to Phawar village. They also set fire to three backhoes and other machines.
The jade hunters handed over the policeman to the village administration team at around 8pm on June 25.
Kyaw Swe Oo is being held at the No 16 Security Police Force branch.
“Normally, officials allow scavengers to enter the site at around 4:30pm. If there is rain, the company will dismiss its workers early. On Sunday, the scavengers had to go to the site early. They entered the site without permission, so security police threatened them with gun. A scavenger was shot dead, and a riot between police and jade hunters occurred there. The jade hunters destroyed company-owned backhoes and other machines and brought the policeman who shot them to the administrative office in Phar Wah village. The policeman sustained many injuries. Around 8pm, the police force took him,” said ward administrator Hla Aung from Lonkhin village.
Some jade mining companies in Lone Khin village-tract did not stop their work during the rainy season, and they searched for scraps when the weather permitted.
However, the companies usually allow scavengers to enter their sites between 4:30pm to 6pm, when the company finishes work early.