YANGON (AFP) – Three people were killed in clashes between Myanmar police and hundreds of migrant workers who were trying to scavenge jade at a mine in the country’s remote north, officials said Wednesday.
The fighting broke out Monday after police blocked some 500 jade scavengers from accessing an industrial mining plot in northern Kachin state – the heart of Myanmar’s shadowy multi-billion dollar gem trade.
The group attacked officers with hammers and stones, leading police to fire “warning shots”, the report said.
The fighting outside the town of Hpakant left two migrant workers from western Rakhine state and one officer dead, with nine workers later arrested for their alleged involvement in the unrest.
Most of the world’s best quality jadeite is mined in Hpakant – a once lush region that has been carved into a barren moonscape by industrial firms linked to Myanmar’s junta-era elite.