Business Standard

Chinese bikes worth Rs 25,000 become another weapon in Manipur violence

More than 50% of the seized two-wheelers during the ongoing Manipur violence are Kenbo bikes which are banned in Manipur

June 27

Photo: Twitter

BS Web Team New Delhi

Listen to This Article

Banned Chinese bikes Kenbo and Cannon are being used by rioters in Manipur during the ongoing violence.

The northeastern state of Manipur has been witnessing violent clashes between the Kuki and Meitei communities for nearly two months now centred around the issue of reservation.

According to a report by the Daily Bhaskar, as of now, 131 people have lost their lives in the violence, with 419 individuals injured. There have been over 5,000 incidents of arson, resulting in 6,000 registered cases and the arrest of 144 people. The state has also deployed 36,000 security personnel and 40 IPS officers to maintain order.

According to photographs and videos of the violence emerging in the region, the banned Chinese Cannon bikes have been spotted being used by groups.

What are Kenbo bikes?

Kenbo is a Chinese brand known for producing motorcycles and other vehicles. The brand is manufactured by Yunnan Yinxiang Motorcycle Manufacturing Co Ltd, a company in Dehongzhouruili in the Yunnan Province of China.

Kenbo bikes are typically designed and built for affordability and practicality. They can be priced as low as Rs 25,000, a quarter of the price of Indian bikes. They are also relatively lightweight and have smaller engine capacities, making them suitable for commuting, especially in urban settings.

The bargain motorcycles result in a very small financial loss for people even if they are confiscated by the police.

According to media reports, more than 50 per cent of the seized two-wheelers during the ongoing Manipur violence are Kenbo bikes.

The Chinese Cannon bikes were also extensively used, especially in the violence-affected hill districts of Ukhrul and Kamjong. These 125 cc bikes are abundant in hilly areas. Notably, the police in Ukhrul, Kamjong, Tengnoupal, and Churachandpur districts, which are close to the Indo-Myanmar border, have never launched a major operation to seize these bikes before.

Ban on Chinese bikes in Manipur

The Manipur and Mizoram governments had banned Chinese-made bikes as they had allegedly been used to smuggle drugs from Myanmar in September, 2021. The popular bike, Kenbo, was allegedly being sold in the black market and being used without a registration number.

Manipur cracked down on the bikes again in March. Chief Minister N Biren Singh made a series of tweets regarding the seizing of bikes and arrests related to the smuggling of drugs in the region. The CM also added that since the motorcycles were stuffed with narcotics, including opium.

“Several Kenbo bikes illegally brought from Myanmar to be used mainly for transportation of poppy seeds and drugs in the narrow and stiff terrains have been seized,” he said.

The statement came after the state police had reportedly seized 20.26 kg of poppy seeds and four two-wheelers used in Myanmar. They had also taken two youths in Old Boljang village in Kangpokpi district into custody.

According to media reports, the bike parts come from China's Yunnan province through Thailand before reaching a specialised dealer in Myanmar and Manipur. They are assembled in Ukhrul and Kamjong.

Manipur has a history of these bikes being utilised in the opium trade but the illegal activities and now the bike has also become another weapon in the Manipur violence.

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Jun 27 2023 | 3:24 PM IST

Explore News