Chinese Nationals Fined, Detained for Weeks Over Illegal Operation of Waingmaw Shops

A Waingmaw Township court sentenced three Chinese nationals to fines of 500,000 kyat (US$329) for operating shops without official permission earlier this month.

Immigration officers arrested a woman—who ran the Shang Nan car parts shop—and two men, who had a shop selling agricultural materials on August 14. They were charged with violating the Immigration Act, Article 13(1).

One day later, they were officially fined, but have remained in police custody at the Waingmaw downtown jail. Local authorities said that they are awaiting an order from the Kachin State government regarding the possible deportation of the three individuals.

“The immigration department has many difficulties in operating. We have laws. If we don’t have concrete information, we cannot go to search for a house. If we go to search [the property of] a Chinese citizen and we don’t find the person in the house, we will be fired,” immigration officer Ah Si told KNG. “We want the township court to follow the existing law,” he added.

His reference is to the maximum fine which can be assigned for the illegal operation of a business by a non-national. According to Burma’s immigration law, foreigners can be charged up to 1 million kyat (US$659) for violating this statute. Local sources said that the court in Waingmaw typically assigns a fine of half this sum.

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