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A gem market in Burma’s second city of Mandalay was shut down this morning after fighting broke out between Chinese and Burmese merchants over a deal that turned sour.
Police arrived at the scene and detained five Chinese, one of whom punched a rival Burmese gem seller, an eye-witness told DVB. The argument was sparked by accusations from Chinese merchants that Burmese traders had broken a deal worth $US5,300.
“Other Burmese traders nearby got involved and they surrounded the Chinese merchants’ office for about one hour,” said a resident of Mandalay’s Mahaaungmyay township, where the incident took place. “About 100 police and security forces arrived and took them to the police station.”
A police official at the local station however denied the men were being held there. “Our senior officials are currently informing higher level authorities. We don’t know what the situation is at the moment,” he said.
It mirrors an incident last month at the same market when a Burmese trader punched a Chinese man and was sentenced to six months in jail.
Mandalay is heavily populated with Chinese, who now dominate the town’s hotel and small business sector. Some estimates put the proportion of Chinese at half of the town’s population.