BANGKOK – Four people were shot dead in northern Myanmar by security forces who tried to stop the entry of dozens of irregular workers into a jade deposit, local media reported Thursday.
About a dozen people were also wounded in this incident at a Nan Si Bon mine, in the Sagaing region, after authorities issued restrictions on access to the area, according to The Irrawaddy news portal.
The site attracts about 500 itinerant workers scavenging through the rubble for jadeite.
After the jadeite searchers were blocked from entering the site and responded to the authorities by setting fire to several barrels of fuel and capturing a guard, the police opened fire on them, a witness told The Irrawaddy.
Myanmar has the largest deposits of jadeite, a high-value type of jade in China and around the world.
Tens of thousands of people across the country work irregularly in these mountains of debris in search of pieces of jade that have gone unnoticed by the miners.
The organization Global Witness denounced in October that warlords, drug traffickers and generals of the former military junta are involved in the jade business, which in 2014 generated about $31 billion.