Myanmar Coup Conspirator Took Suu Kyi’s Naypyitaw Home
By The Irrawaddy 25 August 2022
U Khin Yi, one of the key conspirators in last year’s coup, took over the Naypyitaw residence of ousted civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, until he was ousted last week from his position as the regime’s Minister for Immigration and Population.
Junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing picked the former Brigadier General as a minister in August 2021. Despite losing his job, U Khin Yi is still the vice chair of the regime’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). He was formerly police chief under the previous military regime led by Senior General Than Shwe, and the immigration minister in the quasi-civilian administration led by U Thein Sein.
As State Counselor, Suu Kyi lived at 33(A) Mya Nan Bon Thar Street in the Myanmar capital from 2016 until last year. Mya Nan Bon Thar is a cul-de-sac in Zeya Theikdi Ward, a neighborhood where ministers live that is located between the presidential residence and parliament. Suu Kyi was detained in the house for months after the military takeover.
When she was moved from the house to a secret location, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was given only a few minutes to pack. She is now being held in solitary confinement at Naypyitaw Prison.
In August 2021, the military regime removed Suu Kyi’s belongings from the house and U Khin Yi moved in when he became immigration minister.
A reward for Khin Yi
People were not immediately aware that U Khin Yi had taken up residence at Suu Kyi’s home, but the junta could not conceal it for long.
When Suu Kyi was detained in the house after the coup, there was a checkpoint and gate at the entrance to the cul-de-sac. The checkpoint was removed after U Khin Yi moved in.
Being given the house was U Khin Yi’s reward for helping coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing stage the putsch that ousted the Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) government.
Former Brigadier General U Khin Yi is one of the many generals, including Min Aung Hlaing, who have proved time and time again that they detest Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The fact that he took over her residence, despite the fact that there are many other vacant houses in Zeya Theikdi Ward, is proof of the regime’s loathing for Suu Kyi.
However, as the residence is a state-owned property, U Khin Yi had to leave after he lost his ministerial position.
Along with U Soe Thane, a fellow former minister in U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government, U Khin Yi encouraged Min Aung Hlaing to seize power from the NLD government.
He had good reason to do so. As vice-chairman of the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), U Khin Yi lost to an NLD candidate in the 2020 general election. The USDP also suffered a humiliating defeat in the poll, winning even fewer seats than it did in the 2015 general election.
At a Yangon press conference held by the USDP and its allied parties on November 26, 2020 in response to the election defeat, U Khin Yi asked, “On whom should we rely?” That gave the impression that he was waiting for the Myanmar military to intervene in the political situation.
U Khin Yi organized 22 pro-military demonstrations between January 21 and February 25, 2021.
After the coup, U Khin Yi was made immigration minister, while Daw Thet Thet Khaing, who also wanted the military to seize power, was also rewarded with a ministerial position.
A loyal servant of dictators
Born on December 29, 1952, U Khin Yi is 69 and was part of the 17th intake of the Defense Services Academy.
He served as chief of the Myanmar Police Force and deputy home affairs minister under former military dictator Senior General Than Shwe, and oversaw the house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Later, he became immigration and population minister in U Thein Sein’s administration and was part of that government’s peace negotiation team. Although he was not as popular as fellow ministers U Soe Thane and U Aung Min, U Khin Yi was regarded as one of the most reliable ministers in U Thein Sein’s government.
U Khin Yi lost his seat at the 2015 general election and failed to win again in 2020. But he was rewarded with a ministerial position for his part in the coup.
However, he surprisingly lost his job in a recent cabinet reshuffle. But he remains vice-chairman of the USDP and a trusted aide of Min Aung Hlaing.
Many believe that he was removed from his ministerial job to assume a more important responsibility in the future. With the coup leader planning an election next year, it is possible that U Khin Yi is being lined up to become the next head of the USDP, replacing U Than Htay.