Tuesday, July 25, 2017

KTVs ordered to close early during campaign

Police have announced special security measures in Nay Pyi Taw in advance of the start of campaigning for the November 8 election. Amid rumours of the possible infiltration into the country of terror groups, owners of KTVs, which police say are known bomber haunts, have been instructed to close at 11pm every night.

A KTV in Pyinmana township, Nay Pyi Taw. (Htoo Thant/The Myanmar Times)A KTV in Pyinmana township, Nay Pyi Taw. (Htoo Thant/The Myanmar Times)

Police Lieutenant Colonel Win Chun, head of police for Dekkhina district, met ward administrators, heads of bus gates, bank security officials, and the owners of guest houses, gold shops, restaurants and KTV parlours on September 1 to discuss the security measures.

Pol Lt Col Win Chun said police had intensified awareness measures following last month’s bomb blast in Bangkok. He also stated that Interpol had informed the government that suspected bombers could have entered Myanmar within the last six months, and called on people to be vigilant and report any unusual activity to the police.

“We have been informed that a bomber group entered Myanmar through Tamu, or across the border with Rakhine and Chin states. We have taken measures, but do not know if the group entered the country,” he said, adding that the suspected group members spoke fluent Myanmar and Rakhine, and could pass anywhere.

The group includes political racial and religious extremists and others, he added.

Nay Pyi Taw has previously been the site of a number of attacks, with bombs detonated at Myoma and Thapyaygone markets in 2011, and Pyinmana railway station in 2009.

“We can’t say that there won’t be fresh attacks during the transitional period after the election, so we must be cautious,” Pol Lt Col Win Chun added.

Police will also check house guestlists in residential wards.

In recent years, similar security measures have been taken during the 2013 SEA Games, the 2014 ASEAN Summit and during the visit of President Obama in November 2014. KTV opening hours were also restricted during those events, in order to restrict the freedom of movement of potential bombers. “We instructed KTVs to close down entirely during President Obama’s trip,” he said.

Once the campaign period starts, they will have to close at 11pm, he said, adding that the KTVs were a known haunt of bombers.

“Bombers have their dinner at a restaurant and stay in the KTV overnight. Then, they prepare and do what they have planned and go back and hide in the KTV again,” Pol Lt Col Win Chun said.

He declined to answer how many KTVs were operating in Nay Pyi Taw and also refused to answer a question on massage parlours on the grounds they were “illegal” businesses.

Pyinmana residents said massage parlours were always instructed to close whenever security alerts were in progress.

Translation by Thiri Min Htun