Three police constables on Maday Island in Arakan State’s Kyaukphyu Township were detained on Monday in connection with the recent death of a villager in police custody, according to district authorities.

Win Kyi, district police head officer in Kyaukphyu, confirmed the three were under investigation for their role in the death but had not yet been charged.

According to Tun Kyi, coordinator of the Kyaukphyu Rural Development Association, the allegedly inebriated police constables were involved in an altercation with a local fisherman, Aung Chan Nu, on the evening of Sept. 22 after the latter declined to help moor the constables’ schooner.

The police, who were out of uniform, allegedly climbed onto Aung Chan Nu’s boat and beat him, according to Tun Kyi, who added that the victim had picked up a knife to defend himself but dropped it when he recognized the assailants as policemen.

After the alleged assault, the local man was taken to Maday Island police station where his condition deteriorated, Tun Kyi said. The following morning, he was transported to Kyaukphyu hospital but died in transit.

Tun Kyi said a number of people witnessed the incident but many were too frightened to come forward.

“Locals fear the police and dare not speak about it,” he said.

Tun Tun Naing, a Kyaukphyu resident voluntarily assisting the victim’s family, said he had met with several Maday Island locals who witnessed the altercation.

“According to local witnesses, the police kept hitting the boatman all the way along the road from the village to the police station. I myself found many drops of blood on the road,” he said.

The victim’s employer, Aung Mya Tun, who is also a local administrator on Maday Island, told The Irrawaddy on Monday he wanted to see a full medical report on the victim’s death.

“My [employee] was strong. He could not have died from a minor illness,” he said.

The Irrawaddy contacted Maday Island police on Monday, who would not speak with the media. One of the victim’s family members, Nyunt Than Maung, was also not available for comment on Monday.

One Maday Island resident, Maung Maung Myint, said he believed the victim passed away en route to the hospital at around 9-10 am on Sept. 23.

Dr Shwe Thin, the superintendent of Kyaukphyu hospital, declined to comment on the particulars of the case, but said that medical personnel were preparing a medical examination report to be provided to police.

http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/three-policemen-implicated-in-deadly-assault-on-maday-island.html