Police told not to charge for clearance letters

Police have been ordered to provide criminal clearance letters free of charge, after a forgery ring was uncovered earlier this month in Yangon.

The recommendations, which are mostly needed for job applications, are supposed to be given free of charge but officers often expect “tea money” in exchange for the letter.

This widely understood practice became the centre of attention recently when the police force discovered a forgery ring in North Okkalapa township that was selling fake letters for K1500.

Naturally, it prompted some to point out that there would not be a market for the letters if police did not charge for them.

Senior officials say that they have now posted notices in police stations explaining that the public should not pay for the letters. They have also invited people to complain if they are asked to pay for them.

“The criminal clearance recommendation letter is given free of charge at township police stations. A sign saying not to charge for it has been posted on the wall in the police station where everyone can see it easily,” said Police Major Thein Aung.

The announcement was released after Wai Bar Gi police station exposed the forgery of the recommendation letter in North Okkalapa township on August 16.

On August 16, police from Wai Bar Gyi ward in North Okkalapa arrested three men – U Kyaw Soe Yin, 57; U Ngwe Hla, 67; and U Khin Maung Oo, 64 – following a tip-off they had allegedly been selling the letters.

Police found a counterfeit stamp from Wai Bar Gyi police station, as well as nine letters with the fake signature of a police second lieutenant. The three men are facing charges of forgery and cheating.

Following the discovery, Yangon Region Police Force’s Facebook page said adequate funds had been allocated to each station to cover office stationery to provide the recommendation letters, and there was no need for the public to pay.

But Mingalar Taung Nyunt resident Ko Aung Than said it was common for residents to pay K500 or K1000 every time they sought a recommendation from the police or ward administration office.

“Some people give it to get the recommendation letter quickly. But it’s better now that they know they don’t have to pay,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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