Myanmar Court Sentences Man to Death by Hanging for Love Triangle Murder

By Salai Thant Zin 15 January 2020

PATHEIN, Ayeyarwady Region—A local court in Ayeyarwady Region sentenced a former healthcare assistant to death by hanging on Monday for murdering a schoolteacher and hiding the corpse after a love triangle turned violent in 2016.

Former healthcare assistant Than Zaw, who worked at a rural healthcare center for Payagon Village-tract in Hinthada Township, was found guilty of conspiring with his girlfriend to kill her ex-boyfriend Ko Aye Naing, a 34-year-old teacher of the Mayan Lay Village primary school in the same township, according to the Hinthada District Court.

The trial lasted three years and nine months. The court ruled on Monday that the two defendants will be given the maximum penalties under the law.

The former healthcare assistant was sentenced to death by hanging under Article 302 (1.b) of the Penal Code, for premeditated murder. His girlfriend, Hnin Cherry, was sentenced to seven years in prison with hard labor under Article 201 for covering up the evidence of the murder, according to Deputy District Judge U Aung Thein Oo of Hinthada District Court.

In March 2016, the owner of a farm near Hinthada University reported suspicious activity on his land to authorities. When local police, administrative officials and a medical examiner responded and excavated the ground nearby, they found a body.

Police were at first unable to identify the decomposed body, but based on the watch and motorbike key found on the body, they traced the body to Mayan Lay Village and learned that the school teacher had been missing for weeks.

According to the investigation, Than Zaw killed the schoolteacher out of a grudge against him as Ko Aye Naing had allegedly spoken ill of Hnin Cherry after the two separated. Than Zaw had told his girlfriend to make a date with her ex-boyfriend on Feb. 22, 2016 near Hinthada University.

Than Zaw killed him that night and then brought the body to the farm and drenched it with acid before burying it.

“There was clear evidence of premeditation in the murder. If someone acts cruelly, committing murder and covering up the body, he shall be sentenced to death by hanging,” said lawyer U Zaw Win Aung of Pathein.

In May 2019, the district court in Maubin, also in Ayeyarwady Region, sentenced a 38-year-old to death by hanging for killing a 7-year-old schoolgirl and stealing her earrings.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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