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Customs staff freed from jail in Myanmar

Customs staff freed from jail in Myanmar

Myanmar released about 370 of its customs officials yesterday, after they were detained last year as part of the ruling military junta's anti-corruption campaign, a detainee's relative said.
The Bureau of Special Investigation began its crackdown on corruption at the Customs Department in May last year, arresting more than 500 officials, including its chief.
"About 370 customs officials were brought from Yangon's Insein prison, where they had been held for interrogation, and were dumped at the Customs House," said a woman whose husband was among those released.
"During interrogation, my husband was asked how much in bribes he had taken since he joined the Customs Department. I am not sure if my husband will get his job back," said the woman, who asked that her name not be used in order avoid further official attention.
In October, the junta gave prison sentences ranging from seven to 66 years to more than 100 people - mostly Customs Department staff - for bribery and corruption, among other charges. Customs Department Director General Khin Maung Lin was given a 66-year sentence.
Authorities warned the released customs officials to refrain from corruption and told them to return to work on Monday.
The Customs Department detentions represented one of the biggest crackdowns since then-Myanmar prime minister and military intelligence chief General Khin Nyunt was removed from office, and his intelligence network dismantled in 2004.
Khin Nyunt was accused of being responsible for "a major corruption scandal involving his subordinates" and was given a 44-year suspended sentence, which he is serving under house arrest.
It is generally believed, however, that Khin Nyunt was purged for having political differences with senior junta members. Officials throughout the bureaucracy believed loyal to him - especially in the military intelligence service - were removed, and in many cases prosecuted.


Updated : 2021-08-04 10:42 GMT+08:00