An official from the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force-KNDF (KNDF) Central Investigation Team (ITF) said that during the Spring Revolution in Karenni, there are increasing threats and requests for money from citizens using the Revolution as pretext.
“When vehicles pass through an area controlled by an armed organization, including the KNDF, there are legitimate inspections to prevent the passage of prohibited goods such as products of junta crony companies, or to catch junta operatives traveling as civilians. Other, unofficial checkpoints may demand money, and sometimes they impound cars and hold them for ransom, sometimes hundreds of thousands of kyats. Some illegitimate checkpoints may be dalans (regime spies) asking for information about Revolutionary troop movements and such. We don’t know exactly how many of these false checkpoints there are, but they seem to be increasing,” said the KNDF official.
Some Revolutionary forces charge money in the form of customs duties. The official said that this is not Revolutionary policy, but may have been decided by a few individuals within local Revolutionary chapters.
Citizens who encounter such demands for money can report them to the KNDF and ask for action to be taken. Some cases may be routed through the Karen State Police Department (KSP), the official from the Central Investigation Team (ITF) added.
“When the public complains about this kind of extortion, if the Central Committee of the KNDF gives instructions to the ITF to take effective action, it will not discriminate against anyone. The ITF will be able to arrest and take action, regardless of who is behind the extortion.”
When the public wants to donate to the Revolution, he said it is more effective through fundraising campaigns, not local requests for money.
He said that the KNDF has arrested people on three occasions after the formation of the ITF for making illegitimate demands for money, and there had been some arrests before that as well. The Central Investigation Task Force (ITF) is an organization established by the KNDF last August.