Model Cleared of Defamation Charge

By Thiha Toe 20 January 2017

Transgender model Myo Ko Ko San was released from detention on Friday after being held in police custody for defamation under controversial Article 66(d) of Burma’s Telecommunications Law since Tuesday.

The model was accused by Academy Award-winning actress Wut Hmone Shwee Yee of sharing defamatory posts on social media.

The model wrote on her Facebook page that she was released after the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) confirmed that she was not the admin of the Facebook page that shared defamatory posts against actress Wut Hmone Shwee Yee.

“CID examined my phone and I was released after they confirmed that I was clear of suspicion,” wrote Myo Ko Ko San on her Facebook.

“Don’t blame anyone,” she wrote referring to Wut Hmone Shwe Yee, who her supporters have strongly criticized following her arrest.

Her supporters welcomed her release in comments under her posts. According to Myo Ko Ko San, her cell phone is still being held by CID despite the release.

The arrest of model Myo Ko Ko San on Tuesday marked an expansion of the controversial Article 66(d)  into the entertainment sector.

Police took the model into custody at Rangoon International Airport on her return from a visit to Bangkok, Thailand, and she was being held at Yankin Township Police Station.

“Myo Ko Ko San told me that while she was collecting luggage at the airport, four persons in plainclothes came to her and said they had questions to ask. They took her away, and they turned off her phone,” said Shin Thant, who is Myo Ko Ko San’s friend and has been assisting with her legal case.

The 23-year-old transgender Myo Ko Ko San rose to fame after winning the title of Miss International Queen Myanmar 2015, a beauty pageant for gay and transgender people. The victory allowed Myo Ko Ko San to compete in the Miss International Queen 2015 pageant in Thailand.

Wut Hmone Shwe Yee had accused Myo Ko Ko San of being the administrator of the “Cele Cele Small” Facebook page, which posted the allegedly defamatory material, according to Shin Thant. Cele Cele Small is a Facebook page with over 800,000 likes that reveals inside information on the private lives of Burma’s celebrities and artists.

In Yankin Township Court, Myo Ko Ko San denied being the administrator of Cele Cele Small and questioned why police had the right to arrest her without strong evidence, Shin Thant told The Irrawaddy.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko