On Thursday January 12 soldiers from the Burmese army stationed along the border with China, shot and killed a Chinese civilian despite the fact that he was on the Yunnan side of the Sino-Burmese border, according to the man's relatives and eyewitnesses from the man's village, Loi Lung Bum.
An examination of Lahpai Zau Lawn's body shows that the ethnic Kachin (Jingpo) farmer was shot at close range in the abdomen and twice in head, his relatives say. A photo of Lahpai Zau Lawn's corpse provided by his family supports their conclusion that he was struck in the face with a butt of a gun before being killed.
The Kachin News Group has learned that Chinese authorities found blood stains and bullet cartridges on the Chinese side of the border, at the place where the 53 year old appears to have been summarily executed. Lahpai Zau Lawn's relatives say the man did not cross the border and was captured in China.
Zau Lawn's body was found a short distance away from where he appears to have been killed. In an apparent message to his fellow villagers, Burmese soldiers also planted two mines, one at the place where the blood stains were found and another mine where his body was found, according to a source familiar with the Chinese investigation.
The soldiers who carried out the attack on Zau Lawn are said to be from the Mu Bum base located on the Burmese side of the border and are part of the Shwenyaungpyin-based Light Infantry Battalion No. 321 under the Northern Regional Command, according to sources on the ground.
Villagers in the area say that Zaul Lawn's killing was likely in retaliation for a December 22 incident in which two Burmese soldiers from Battalion No. 321, who crossed into China, were detained by local residents from the deceased man's village of Loi Lung Bum, located four miles inside China.
According to villagers familiar with the incident, the stray Burmese soldiers were hungry and crossed into China to steal food from a local farm. After capturing the two Burmese conscripts, villagers handed them over to Chinese authorities, prompting the Burmese army to seek revenge.
According to sources familiar with the Chinese investigation in Zau Lawn's killing, Chinese authorities are reluctant to pursue the matter with Burma's government despite an overwhelming amount of evidence indicating that an innocent Chinese citizen was murdered on Chinese territory by Burmese troops.
According to villagers, in 1992 when the Burmese army was previously fighting the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) in the area, a Chinese citizen from Loi Lung was also captured by the Burmese army inside Chinese territory. Maru Lagyung an ethnic Kachin, was seen being detained by Burmese soldiers shortly after the KIO's base at Mu Bum had fallen to the Burmese army. Following his capture, Maru Lagyung was heard from again and is believed to have died at the hands of his captors.
Photo caption: The body of Lahpai Zau Lawn, an ethnic Kachin of Chinese Citizenship. The dead man's relatives allege that Zau Lawn was executed on January 12 by Burmese soldiers who crossed into Chinese territory to get revenge against his village.