Chin Pastor Detained after Police Seized Illegal Drugs from House Guests
29 July 2012: A Christian pastor has been detained by Burmese authorities since 16 July 2012 after police seized illegal drugs from guests staying at his house.
Rev. He Ling, from the Hmunthar Lai Baptist Church (HLBC) in Kalaymyo of Sagaing Division, is being placed in custody on suspicion of having possible links with the drug bust.
Sources said that police busted and seized 100.56 kg of heroin from Ms Siang Tin aka San Sai Par, 37, from Falam, Lal Than Thang, 32, and Lawma, 22, both from Tahan, on 13 July 2012 as the three were attempting to leave the pastor’s house on scooters.
The 56-year-old Chin writer and preacher was arrested at his house three days later, at around 2am in the morning of 16 July.
“Since the guest was staying and leaving her bags at the house of Rev. He Ling, the pastor was arrested by the police on the basis that he must have known about the heroin,” another Chin pastor close to Rev. He Ling told Chinland Guardian.
According to the Hakha Post, Rev. He Ling and his family received the guests after their landlady, who owns the house, asked if Siang Tin could stay with them for a few days.
A Chin local from Tahan told Chinland Guardian: “The three traders must have been somehow suspected by the police before the incident happened. I strongly believed that they intentionally used the pastor’s house as a safe place to keep their stuff.”
The three Chin traders and Rev. He Ling are being held in judicial custody after reportedly making their first court appearance last Thursday.
Rev. He Ling is scheduled to make his court appearance again on 10 August 2012. The trial continues.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang