Karen News Junta Relies on BGF recruitment drive to Defend Chinese Gangster -run Shwe Kokko New City, from Resistance Offensive

Residents report that the operations of Chinese casinos around Myawaddy and Mehtawthalay village has prompted the Military Council and BGF to enhance security to prevent potential attacks by the KNLA/KNU and PDFs. The resistance is pledged to shut down the notorious cyber-crime and scam operations, that operate in the Shwe-Kokko New City, just inside the Karen State’s border with Thailand.

Prior to the coup, individuals called up for the Border Guard Force’s (BGF) recruitment program had the option to negotiate a replacement by making a payment to someone else. However with the Junta suffering heavy casualties in recent months during a string of defeats to the resistance forces, there has been a heightened focus on recruitment according to a family member of someone summoned to enlist with the regime’s proxy the BGF.

“They’re recruiting mainly around Shwe Kokko, with advance knowledge of the age and demographics of people in the wards. BGF calls young people from different households, and the new recruits undergo military training, guard security, and are taken to the frontlines. Unlike before, you can’t avoid conscription by paying someone else. BGF members come to houses with young people to recruit them”, a Shwe Kokko resident told KIC.

A source close to Myawaddy BGF informed KIC, “In the current situation, BGF is also really short on manpower. Some members have died on the frontline supporting the Military Council, and others have become deserters. Now people who were previously unemployed or doing manual labor are wearing BGF uniforms, and guarding the checkpoints at Hpachaung and the trade zone. BGF hired them for a daily wage of 10000 MMK. Before, BGFs used to collect tolls from passing cars, but now they stay behind and have hired people to do those jobs”.

Reports indicate that BGFs currently responsible for security in Myawaddy are actively seeking additional recruits due to being undermanned. They are hiring manual laborers on a daily wage of 10,000 MMK, with sources revealing that these recruited workers are equipped with uniforms and weapons, and undertaking duties at security checkpoints.

KIC reached out to BGF officials based in Myawaddy and those deployed in Shwe Kokko concerning the ongoing recruitment activities, but received no response.

In the past, each village had to send 10 individuals to serve as BGF recruits. If the specified number couldn’t be met, BGF demanded a payment of MMK 4 million per person, and the replacement fee was as high as 1000 baht per month. Despite BGF claiming to recruit for community safety, these individuals were frequently sent to the frontlines. BGF commonly sought compensation for deserters, and often resorted to physical abuse against the families of those who deserted.

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