Seven illegal jade scavenging backhoes seized in Hpa-kant

Writer: 
Tun Lin Aung
The seized backhoes being brought in the evening of September 5th
MYITGYINA- Seven backhoes, over 81 Kg of raw jade slabs and six men who were searching for jade illegally at an old jade mining plot owned by Yandana Taungtan Company, were seized in Hpa-kant Region, Kachin State, in the morning of September 5th.
 
The arrests were made by the army and Myanmar Police Force together with the Hpa-kant Police Station.
 
The seized backhoes were temporarily kept at the gunpowder plant in Lone Khin village tract, and six men were detained at the Hpa-kant Police station.
 
The Yandana Taungtan Company’s old jade mining plot had produced 210 tons of jade slab, also producing the world’s largest jade slab in 2016.
 
“The authorities conducted the raid in the evening of September 5th. We didn’t know which other equipments were seized. But, the backhoes were confiscated. The outsiders (people not from Hpa-kant) can’t know whether the hunters are digging the jade in Hpa-kant region are illegal or not. If we check with the official jade hunters in accordance with the law, they[hunters] are breaking the law. If we were to try and prevent against the illegal jade mining in Hpa-kant, certain allowances are needed for the jade plots after scrutinizing the laws such as commercial or manageable scales including medium jade mining industry. Now, there are thousands of people working in in jade mining areas as odd jobs. If the grass-roots level have no chance to enjoy the jade mining industry, there will definitely be more problems. The locals reported that the tar and concrete roads were badly damaged due to reckless driving and usage by the backhoes. That’s why I submitted the report compiled by the locals to the Kachin State Parliament speaker,” said MP Dar Shi La Sai from Hpa-kant Township.
 
While the Daily Eleven attempted to inquire about the owners of seized backhoes to the Kachin State Government Committee, there was no reply from them.
 
Likewise, the army and the police force arrested 19 jade hunters at the expired jade mining plot owned by Sein Lon Taungtan Jade Company in Hpa-kant Township, on August 22nd. 
 
There are over 200,000 of migrants in Hpa-kant region. Most of them are now foraging for jade at the expired jade mining plots and amongst soil waste dumps.
 
The Kachin State government committee is also trying to handle problems such as narcotics, control of expired jade mining plots, migrant workers and disasters.
 
Clashes between jade scavengers and security forces took place at the Yadana San Shyne jade plot in Seikmu village-tract yesterday and three people received minor injuries due to warning gunshots made by the police.