Husband of Death Plunge Teen Detained by Police

By The Irrawaddy 21 May 2012

The husband of a teenage Shan girl who fell to her death from a Rangoon police station window was detained by authorities at the city’s airport on May 17.

Nang Wo Phan died at 5 am on March 24 after plummeting from the Police Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) building in Kyauktada Township in the center of the former capital.

Her grief-stricken husband, Motohuko Namase, told a press conference last month that his wife leapt from the fifth floor window due to her brutal interrogation, but now the Japanese national is himself being held at the city’s notorious Insein Prison.

Namase had purchased property in Rangoon worth three billion kyat (US $3.9 million) under his young wife’s name. But then a trusted employee claimed to actually own all the land so Nang Wo Phan went to Hlaing Tharya Township police station to complain.

However, officers did not follow up her allegations but instead arrested and interrogated the 19-year-old for three days straight about where she found the money to buy the land. It was during this ordeal that she fell to her death.
And now Namase has himself been detained by the BSI while attempting to fly to Tokyo as officers investigate where he got the money to buy the land concerned.

“According to article-5(h) of the 1950 Emergency State Protection Act, the [BSI] has the right to investigate about his money and detain him,” said Phone Myint Aung, an independent MP for Rangoon Region Constituency-3 who raised the case in Parliament.

Namase previously accused the police of being in league with the man who allegedly stole from them, adding that Nang Wo Phan, originally from Mong Pahlyo Township in Shan State, was the initial complainant and there was no rule of law due to police corruption.

“She was too young to be interrogated in such an aggressive manner,” he told reporters in March. “I heard the guy bribed the police with a car to arrest and investigate her instead.”

Nang Wo Phan’s family has accused the BSI of acting outside the law by arresting and investing her. They blame the police for her death.

“We have sent complaint letters to the police [BSI] department about her death and their lack of response to our demands for an explanation,” said a family member.

Phone Myint Aung said that he realized the matter has become more complicated than after his initially began investigating. One issue concerns her husband being detained on accusations of dodgy dealings, and another is about her jumping from the building.

“We opened a court case against the [BSI] about the girl’s death,” he said, adding that he asked about the matter in Parliament and urged MPs to treat it as a priority.

“I keep requesting for Parliament to find out how she died and how [the police] investigated her—how can there be the rule of law with such things happening. I want to know exactly what happened here as it is very important.”