Accused Gunman in U Ko Ni Case Appears In Court After Completing Immigration Sentence

By Htun Htun 16 March 2018

Yangon—Kyi Lin, the accused assassin of U Ko Ni, a constitutional lawyer and legal adviser to the ruling National League for Democracy party, appeared at the Yangon North District Court on Thursday having completed his sentence for violation of the Immigration Act. He was noticeably wearing normal clothes and not prison garb.

Kyi Lin, who is accused of fatally shooting U Ko Ni outside Yangon International Airport in January 2017, was sentenced to one year in prison on Aug. 30, 2017 by Mingalardon Township Court for breaching Article 13 (a) of the Immigration Act.

The reason for his early release is not clear, but it appears to be for good behavior in prison.

Kyi Lin officially left Myanmar for Thailand’s Mae Sot through the Myawaddy border gate with a border pass on Sept. 15, 2016, but returned to the country via an illegal route and was subsequently charged under the Immigration Act.

He was also charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code for killing U Ko Ni and fatally shooting taxi driver U Ne Win, as well as under the 1878 Arms Act for illegal possession of a firearm.

Police detained four suspects in connection with the crime: Kyi Lin and three alleged co-conspirators, Zeya Phyo, Aung Win Zaw and Aung Win Tun.

After nearly a year of preliminary hearings, the court charged Aung Win Tun under the Penal Code’s Article 212, which prohibits harboring an offender, but allowed him to stand trial on bail last month after he deposited 50 million kyats (about US$37,300) as a surety for his release from custody. The other three suspects were indicted for premeditated murder, which carries a life sentence.

The man accused of masterminding the murder, former Lieutenant-Colonel Aung Win Khaing, remains at large. The court also ordered the confiscation of Aung Win Khaing’s movable and immovable assets under the Criminal Procedure’s Article 88.