Conspirator in U Ko Ni Killing Still At Large

By May Sitt Paing 11 August 2017

More than six months after the midday assassination at the Yangon International Airport, Aung Win Khaing—one of the main suspects in National League for Democracy (NLD) legal adviser U Ko Ni’s killing—is still at large, with police staying silent about progress in their search for him.

According to a Yangon Region Police Force press conference on Feb. 25, Aung Win Khaing was last seen near the National Herbal Park in administrative capital Naypyitaw.

U Ko Ni was fatally shot at close range outside the airport upon his return from an official trip abroad on Jan. 29. Police have since arrested four conspirators—Aung Win Zaw, Aung Win Htun, Zeyar Phyo and the gunman Kyi Linn.

The Myanmar Police Force issued an arrest warrant for Aung Win Khaing and sent his photos to Asean police forces and Interpol. But the whereabouts of the wanted man remain unknown.

“A witness testified that Aung Win Khaing was seen at an office in Naypyitaw two days before police searched it on Feb. 12. But the police didn’t testify to that. So, I asked the court to interrogate all of the witnesses, but the court rejected my request,” lawyer U Nay La, who is representing U Ko Ni’s family, told The Irrawaddy.

Police searched the National Herbal Park months ago, but to no avail.  Though police have suggested that Aung Win Khaing is still in the country, they have not publicly revealed progress in their search for him.

Lawyer U Nay La said he is not satisfied with the police investigation.

“If police are to arrest a criminal, they should carry out a related investigation about activities prior to the crime. But they haven’t,” he added,

“The criminal was in Naypyitaw for more than 10 days after committing the crime but they couldn’t apprehend him. And they didn’t interrogate the witnesses who testified at the court. They only testified that they had issued an arrest warrant,” said U Nay La.

The Irrawaddy was not able to obtain a comment from the Naypyitaw Police Headquarters or the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Aung Win Khaing is a retired Lt-Col in the Myanmar Army and was a graduate of the No. 36 Intake of the Defense Services Academy.

The trial has been ongoing at the Yangon Southern District Court, with 19 weekly court dates held on Fridays.

Lawyer U Robert San Aung, who is representing the family of U Nay Win, a taxi driver killed by Kyi Linn while he attempted to apprehend him, has criticized the slow court hearings.

According to him, the court is still examining witnesses, and has so far only questioned 19 out of 80 witnesses because the hearings generally last no more than an hour and a half.

Previously, the court was hearing two witnesses at each appearance, but this week, it heard five.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko