RANGOON — Private San Thein Htwe of the Burmese traffic police force (TPF) has confirmed that he was affronted by Nay Shwe Thway Aung [also known as Poe La Pyae], the beloved grandson of retired junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe, at a traffic-congested junction in Rangoon last month.
News about Poe La Pyae punching and slapping San Thein Htwe for not properly clearing the traffic for him at the intersection between University Avenue and Inya Road on March 14 spread via Facebook and other social media.
The traffic policeman said he was treated quite badly, but denied that he had been paid by his alleged assailant to keep quiet about the incident, as some journals have suggested.
He said he just wants to stay quiet and will not lodge a complaint against Poe La Pyae with any organization.
“I just want to live peacefully and don’t want to contact any organization,” said San Thein Htwe, refusing to provide his current work place or meet with The Irrawaddy in person.
According to an officer from unit No. 25 of Kamayut Township TPF, San Thein Htwe is no longer with his unit since the incident. He said he heard the latter had been summoned to Naypyidaw.
However, when contacted by The Irrawaddy, the TPF office in the capital denied that San Thein Htwe was with them, and said that he had been sent back to Rangoon.
San Thein Htwe has since reportedly been transferred to the TPF office located on Rangoon’s 51th Street.
Htin Kyaw, an activist who led demonstrations against the Burmese military regime’s sudden increase in fuel prices in August 2007, recently filed a lawsuit against Poe La Pyae at Kamayut police station because of the way the former junta chief’s grandson treated a traffic policeman.
His complaint was accepted, but he was not allowed to open a legal case.
“The station commander Aung Maw accepted my complaint but he didn’t file it because he said he hasn’t received any complaint from either the TPF unit No. 25 or the victim,” said Htin Kyaw.
“Aung Maw told me that he would report the case to his superior,” he said.
Htin Kyaw added that slapping uniformed government service personnel on duty is considered a challenge to the rule of law in the country. Filing a lawsuit on behalf of the victim is not because of his hatred towards those who are responsible for the incident, but just to prove that no one is above the law, he said.
“I think he just wanted to open a legal case. It doesn’t concern me,” San Thein Htwn told The Irrawaddy.
According to Win Myint, the secretary of the Parliament’s Committee for Rule of Law and Stability, his committee can take necessary measures in accordance with the law only if the victim has filed a request.
“Rule of law means everybody must be equal before the law regardless of the power or wealth they have,” said the secretary. “All citizens who uphold the law must be entitled to the protection of the law.”
Section 323 of Burmese Penal Code imposes one year prison term or 1,000 kyat ($1.25) fine on anyone found guilty of physical abuse towards any uniformed service personnel on duty.