Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Despotism Led To PM's Arrest Says Burmese Regime

Despotism Led To PM's Arrest Says Burmese Regime

by Richard S. Ehrlich

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Human enslavement, crimes involving jade and pearls, plus bribery and military insubordination along the Burma-China border led to the arrest of Burma's prime minister along with other despots, the Burmese regime said.

"As the [Burma-China] border area Immigration Supervisory Body was composed of members of the Military Intelligence, and ministries of Immigration, Home Affairs and Finance and Revenue, all military and civil service personnel involved were dismissed so that identical legal action could be taken against them at the same time," Burma's military government said.

"Former Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt is culpable...He violated tatmadaw [military] discipline by his insubordination," the government said in a lengthy published explanation of why he was suddenly ousted and placed under house arrest on Oct. 19.

"Secondly, he is involved in bribery and corruption and is responsible...and his family is involved in bribery and corruption," the announcement in government-controlled media said.

The vivid description of criminal activity published in Burmese and English language media may be setting the stage for several dramatic show trials and convictions.

Buddhist-majority Burma, also known as Myanmar, is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia and is ruled by an unelected State Peace and Development Council -- a military junta.

The description of official crimes was voiced by one of the junta's leading members, Gen. Thura Shwe Mann, and appeared in the Sunday (Nov. 7) issue of the government-controlled New Light of Myanmar newspaper, and in Burmese-language daily newspapers.

"When the case was slowly unveiled, it was found to be beyond imagination," said Gen. Mann, who is now number three in the ruling hierarchy.

"In some cases, individuals had to sell themselves," Gen. Mann added without elaboration, possibly hinting at an illegal sex racket along the Burma-China border where illegal prostitution is rife.

The dreaded, abusive Directorate of Military Intelligence, which Khin Nyunt ran for 20 years, was immediately disbanded when he was arrested because he allegedly manipulated its personnel to enrich himself and his family.

"At Muse, one of the border towns where border trade is conducted, the government uncovered a bribery and corruption case involving billions of kyats [millions of dollars] by service personnel," Gen. Mann said.

Muse is the main border crossing linking northeast Burma's opium-rich Golden Triangle zone with southern China's booming Yunnan province, and is a freewheeling stopover point for traders and travelers.

"Evidence" in the unfolding case included a massive "forty-two tons of jade and 1,300 pearls, the value of which is yet to be assessed," Gen. Mann's official report said.

At least 186 "personnel from the military" plus three civil servants were "given penalties" for crimes involving just the jade and pearls, Gen. Mann said.

Gen. Khin Nyunt had to be arrested because, as prime minister, his extensive corruption was "leading to the disintegration of the tatmadaw [military]," Gen. Mann said.

"Please do not be afraid but continue to do, within the law, what you have to do. We, on our part, will render the necessary help," Gen. Mann told the nation.

"We are interrogating the military intelligence officers dismissed from the military. Interrogations in other departments are also going on."

Before being busted, Khin Nyunt was among the top three in power.

His son, Ye Naing Win, owned an internet server, Bagan Cybertech, and was arrested along with other family members.

Bagan Cybertech leased a satellite transponder from Shinawatra Satellite, a company partly controlled by the family of Thailand's Prime Minister Shinawatra.

Burma is friendly with many of its Asian neighbors, including China, Thailand, Singapore and India, but is harshly critical of Washington because U.S.-led sanctions caused the impoverished nation's economy to deteriorate further.

America imposed sanctions on Burma in an unsuccessful effort to end the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, the world's most famous political prisoner, whose National League for Democracy party won a landslide election victory in 1990 but was forbidden by the military from forming a new government.


Richard S. Ehrlich, a freelance journalist who has reported news from Asia for the past 26 years, is co-author of the non-fiction book, "HELLO MY BIG BIG HONEY!" -- Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews. His web page is

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news