Yangon Region’s new economics minister was friends with one of the conspirators in the assassination of the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) legal advisor U Ko Ni in 2017.
Earlier this month, Lieutenant Colonel Myo Myint Aung, then Yangon’s military recruitment commander based in Insein, was appointed the region’s minister of economy. He succeeds Aung Than Oo, who was appointed after last year’s coup and dismissed following corruption allegations in June.
Myo Myint Aung attended the Defense Services Academy with Aung Win Zaw, who was behind U Ko Ni’s assassination on January 29, 2017, outside Yangon International Airport.
Observers speculated that U Ko Ni was targeted because of his criticism of the military-drafted 2008 Constitution.
He is believed to have played a key role in advising the NLD to create the position of state counselor for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi after the 2015 general election victory.
Aung Win Zaw was handed a death sentence, which has not been carried out.
Following the 2021 coup, Myo Myint Aung served as a judge on regime tribunals prosecuting protesters and dissidents.
He was reportedly part of a tribunal that handed down death sentences to four pro-democracy activists, including former NLD lawmaker Ko Phyo Zeya Thaw and veteran activist Ko Jimmy, who were executed in July, Myanmar’s first executions in more than three decades.
Yangon business owners have criticized Myo Myint Aung’s appointment, with one telling The Irrawaddy: “Yangon is crucial for the country’s economy and the appointment means the regime only wants people who will do what they’re told and is not interested in their abilities.”