Tue 30 Sep 2008, IMNA
The Burmese military establishment in Mon State has been auctioning vehicles seized from residents in southern Burma on the orders of Naypyidaw.
The vehicles are kept in Moulmein Stadium and the Southeast Command has been urging ethnic cease-fire groups and business establishments to buy it.
According to New Mon State Party (NMSP) sources, the order to auction vehicles came from Naypyidaw, "But I am not sure when the order came."
Sources in NMSP, which reached a cease-fire with the Burmese government in 1995, said Naypyidaw drew up the prices depending on the make of the vehicles.
The organization which pays the auction price will get the vehicles from the Southeast Command.
The auction began early this month, following which local car prices fell.
According to car traders, prices of old Toyota and Hilux cars dropped from 17 million Kyat (13,386 US$) to 12 million Kyat (9,449 US$).
"We are facing losses for over a month. Many stopped buying these cars, even though the cars have license," a car dealer told IMNA.
More than a thousand illegal vehicles which were seized in 2003-2004 have been stored at the Southeast Command base.
Most vehicles were seized from local residents and the cease-fire group. In 2003 the Burmese regime made a new law where those who owned illegal cars and things imported from neighbouring countries would face three years in prison and started seizing the cars.
The NMSP, Karen Peace Front (KPF) and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) had their vehicles seized. The junta only gave back the seized cars to DKBA.
NMSP lost dozens of cars in 2003 and does not dare to buy it back afraid that regime's law is not consistent.
Some businessmen from Moulmein industrial zone are interested and most of them are close to military officers.
The Southeast Command sold vehicles at low prices in 2004 after they seized it. The colours of the seized vehicles were changed.