Children seized in crackdown on Yangon begging syndicates

By HEIN KO SOE | FRONTIER

YANGON — City authorities have rounded up 60 vagrants, including 29 children, and three alleged ring-leaders accused of harassing people for money under the Hledan flyover in Yangon’s Kamaryut Township, as part of a months-long crackdown on organised begging syndicates.

Officers of the Kamaryut Township police, General Administration Department and a unit for “homeless vagrants” under the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) conducted two sweeps, on August 11 and 14, at the major junction between Pyay Road and University Avenue, where the vagrants were “illegally” squatting under the flyover. 

Police said they sued the three alleged ringleaders arrested on August 11 under section 66(C) of the Child Law, which forbids anyone “employing a child to beg for his personal benefit.”

The Yangon Region social welfare department has delivered the 16 girls to the Mingalardon Women’s Rehabilitation Centre and the 13 boys to the Thanlyin Youth Rehabilitation Centre. The 31 adult vagrants were sent to the War Nat Chaung Rehabilitation Centre.

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Daw Cho Cho Mar, who oversees child protection at the social welfare department, said some parents had collected children from the rehabilitation centres, without specifying how many.

U Thin Win, a Yangon regional lawmaker (Kamaryut-2) from the National League for Democracy, said the mass arrests took careful coordination between government departments, police and civil society, because the vagrants had become skilled at fleeing from authorities.

U Yan Naing Soe Aung, deputy administrator for Kamaryut Township, said the YCDC had led a clampdown on organised begging across the city that started five months ago.

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