CNI News
19 January 2024

Illegal hundi activities are being arrested to prevent illegal money exchange, said businessmen and money exchange entrepreneurs. 

99 suspects relating to illegal hundi activities were inspected after which 20 individuals had been taken action against by Myanmar Police Force, Central Bank of Myanmar stated.

Because Myanmar expatriates mainly used illegal hundi businesses to transfer money, Central Bank of Myanmar probably had made a decision to take action against hundi enterprises, U Thet Zaw, an economic analyst, told CNI News.

" They have been wanting to take action against hundi enterprises for long. But they were not able to tackle it pretty well. But now, there might have difference between the arrest and the ability to tackle. That hundi agents were not taken action against in the past might be because at that time, the number of Myanmar migrant workers was not so many, but now that there have been several million Myanmar migrant workers, the amount of money including tax that will flow into Myanmar is so much. So, the government probably has made a decision to take action like that, I think. But I don't think the hundi system will die out at all. Myanmar people want to do what they are asked not to do." he said.

While seeing dollars and kyats

The hundi business has existed for many years and as it can be defined as a business with a strong market, arrest like this did not seem to be effective, pointed out businessmen. 

Moreover, there might have bribery between hundi business operators and government officials concerned. So, illegal hundi business could not be taken action against effectively, said some people.

20 people who have been prosecuted have no license for money transfer business and foreign exchange, and of them, 9 people were illegally transferring salaries of Myanmar migrant workers in China, Malaysia and Thailand. And three people illegally exchanged money and paid for buying goods. And eight people exchanged from foreign currency to Myanmar currency with the country.

Most of Myanmar nationals abroad are using illegal hundi enterprise because they earned more money than using legal money transferring and could enjoy other better services, Hmwar Michael living in Malaysia told CNI News.

while seeing 5,000 kyat notes

" To tell you frankly, hundi system is more convenient for basic class and overstayers. Hundi agents deliver the money to your home. Money price also is a bit higher than legal rate. Transferring at Myanmar shops is cheaper for service charge. Transferring money through KPay or Wave Money in Myanmar arrives quickly. If you legally transfer money bank to bank, it will take you about one week. Service charge is more expensive. Overstayers can't transfer bank to bank." he said.

Gold and Currency Market Monitoring and Supervisory Committee was inspecting notorious hundi agents and scrutinizing their bank accounts and remittances, in collaboration with law enforcer organizations of the Ministry of Home Affairs, according to the statement released by the Central Bank of Myanmar.

14 foreign remittance business licenses had been issued until 19th December 2023 with a view to making illegal hundi enterprises die out, said in the statement.