Myanmar Court Jails Leader of Defunct Political Party for Prison Escape

By The Irrawaddy 12 November 2020

YANGON—The controversial leader of a disbanded political party has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for his escape from a prison more than two decades ago.

Michael Kyaw Myint, aka Michael Hu Hua, has been on trial in Mandalay since last month after his arrest in September on a fugitive warrant. Since then he has been under investigation by a special police unit for breaching anti-money laundering and Myanmar Central Bank laws while operating illegal businesses with links to Chinese criminals wanted by Chinese police for illicit financial transactions.

On Thursday, Chan Aye Thazan Township Court in Mandalay sentenced him to two years in prison with hard labor for his prison escape in 1999. The 69-year-old will likely face further sentencing if found guilty of the other cases mentioned above, as well as an immigration charge stemming from his crossing into Thailand after his prison escape and his later illegal reentry from China.

Michael Kyaw Myint was the chairman of the United Democratic Party (UDP). The party was dissolved last month by Myanmar’s Union Election Commission after police found that Michael Kyaw Myint funded it with money illegally transferred from China—a breach of the country’s political party law, which bans outside financial assistance.

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