The Wikipedia page notes that the riots happened after a gold-shop owner attacked a Buddhist customer.

What was the issue that led to that attack by the shop-owner? And why did they attack a customer?

1 Answer 1


It seems the Buddist customer was trying to sell a gold hair clip. According to an article in The Irrawaddy dated 12 April 2013:

The argument began after a Buddhist woman accused employees of damaging a gold hair clip that she wanted to sell, according to Reuters reports. One shop owner slapped the woman and three employees beat her husband outside, the news agency reported, citing witness testimony.

Tensions in the region between the Muslim and Buddhist communities were already running high. In response to the assault on the Buddhist customers,

A crowd of mostly Buddhists arrived at the scene and started throwing rocks and yelling anti-Muslim insults, Reuters reported. They eventually destroyed the shop and surrounding businesses.

From the same newspaper article, on Thursday 11 April 2013,

The two owners and one employee of New Waint Sein gold shop were each sentenced ... to 14 years in prison for aggravated assault, robbery, attempted injury, and aiding and abetting crimes

  • Thanks. May I know more details. Why would a shop owner slap his own customer and beat her husband outside? This doesn't look like normal disputes. It's as if something else is happening
    – user4951
    Dec 26, 2018 at 19:35
  • @user4951 - No one has verifiable details, except the parties involved. It is essentially a conflict between neighbours (ethnically as well as geographic, and religious), in and around Sittwe, of Rakhine. Here is Al-Jazeera report on this dispute/conflict 7 months before the March 2013 incident (i.e. Aug 2012). International organisations are just as lost as to how to resolve this in the long term, an honest scholar discussing/exploring the issues and the options, Nov 2018 video
    – J Asia
    Dec 29, 2018 at 16:22

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