A former civil servant who left his post to join Burma’s protest movement has fallen to his death after climbing a mountain in search of the lucrative Baychi herb to sell to make ends meet in Putao Township, Kachin State.
“He and his friends had been travelling for a fortnight to search Baychi on the mountain,” a woman close to the family told KNG on condition of anonymity. She said Hkawng Lan Kinjao’s friends called his family on 13 October to inform them that he’d fallen from the cliff and that they buried him near the spot where he fell. A prayer service will be held at his home later.
Hkawng Lan Kinjao, a former senior clerk for the General Administration Development office for Pannan din town, died on 7 October. The man lived in Ward 5 of Nogmung town.
Due to his impoverishment after quitting his job to join the Civil Disobedience Movement, Hkawng Lan Kinjao risked his life to seek the herb, which sells for $286 in Nogmung and for $470 in Putao per viss (about 1.6 kg). The herb that only grow between September and November on the ice-covered mountains in Putao Township and is sold my local traders to Chinese buyers.
This year alone, nearly 10 people have died while searching for Baychi. Mahpan Kintan from Jubilee was killed on 17 September and a pregnant woman from Mali Hkum also fell to her death while searching for it on 26 September.