(please read the story of Mi Kun Thow – his wife – to have some background on what happened that fateful night)

They held my arms behind my back like this when they were raping my wife.” Nai Roy Mon (not his real name) showed us.

I was so angry. I struggled and managed to free my left arm so I punched the guy on my right. One of them hit my leg so I fell down. I was struggling. I looked at my wife and she was looking at me. I shouted at her – Why are you looking at me? Run away! She ran. The gangsters, looking at my wife running away naked, laughed loudly, like it was something funny.

They then tied me up and put me on a motorcycle. It was a very long journey. After that they put me in a hut for about 15 minutes, and then they put me in the boot of a car and it was an even longer journey. We crossed a river using a small boat and I knew we were crossing from Malaysia into Thailand because I heard the boatman speak Thai. They took me to a large double storey house in a rubber plantation. They were about 40 people there, different ethnicities from Myanmar. They asked us

Do you have money?
Do you have friends or relatives in Malaysia?
Do you have friends or relatives in Thailand?
Do you have friends or relatives in Myanmar?

I told them no – I had nobody who could pay the RM1600 they wanted for my release.”

So after 5 days, they took me and three others who could not pay to a fishing village and told me to go abroad a fishing boat. There were 18 of us on the boat. I was the only slave. The others were paid.”

“The fishing boat was at sea for 1 year and 4 months until one day it was damaged and was taking in water. It went to harbour at Chong Buri so I ran away. There were Mons working at the harbour so they helped me. I called my mother who then contacted my wife and arranged for me to go back to Malaysia with my two daughters.

Nai Roy used to be a farmer, growing chillies and other vegetables on his 4 acre plot of land in Mon State. But the Mon Army came often into his plot of land – he had no choice but to give them shelter and food since if he didn’t, they would harm him. After a while, he was arrested under suspicion of aiding the Mon Army. In detention for three weeks, he was tortured. On release, he was told to report to the police station every week. This he did, but on the third week, some injured Mon Army personnel came to his farm again. He couldn’t refuse – “They had guns too“. But soon after, this group ran into the village guards. Nai Roy could hear the sound of gunfire as the two groups fought. He knew the village guards would trace the Mon Army group back to his farm, and then he would be in trouble again. He could no longer stay in his village.

And so Nai Roy and his family ran away the same day, trekking for 3 days and 3 nights to reach the border of Thailand. There they stayed, working in a prawn factory for a year before they had to run to Malaysia because of problems with work permits.