Mytel CFO Most Prominent Victim So Far as Myanmar Military-Linked Firms Targeted

By The Irrawaddy 5 November 2021

Myanmar military-linked businesses are increasingly being targeted by anti-regime forces, with the chief financial officer of the junta’s joint venture telecom company becoming their most high-profile victim so far on Thursday.

U Thein Aung, the CFO of Mytel Telecommunications Co., was gunned down by an unidentified man in Yangon’s Mayangone Township. The 56-year-old was a former navy lieutenant commander. Mytel is a joint venture between the Myanmar military and Vietnam’s Defense Ministry.

Mayangone Township is home to the Yangon Regional Military Command’s office.

The Myanmar military staged a coup in February, toppling the country’s democratic government. People affiliated with the regime—from village and ward level administrators to police and soldiers—have been attacked since late March in response to the junta’s brutal crackdowns on protesters opposed to its rule.

“He died on the spot after being shot four times” a local resident who lived in the same neighborhood as the victim told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

The regime confirmed the killing, stating that the executive and his wife were shot by a gunman in the morning. U Thein Aung was killed and his wife was being treated at Yangon General Hospital.

U Thein Aung and his wife Dr. Theint Aung Thu.

During his military career the victim was a personal assistant to the previous Myanmar navy chief. U Thein Aung was also reportedly close to the current chief, Admiral Moe Aung, as they are both from the same batch at the military academy.

The killing of its CFO is the latest blow for Mytel, which has been boycotted by most users in Myanmar since the coup in February as people seek to deprive the regime of revenue.

Launched in 2018, the company used to be the fourth-largest telecom operator in Myanmar.

In September, the company saw as many as 80 of its towers across the country bombed by local civilian resistance forces known as PDFs, who have been waging guerrilla-style warfare against the regime.

The boycott has hit the company hard, according to Justice For Myanmar (JFM), a covert group of activists exposing inequality, violence, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Myanmar.

On Friday, JFM said the telecom firm lost at least US$24.9 million and almost 2 million subscribers from February to April.

U Thein Aung (left) with Admiral Moe Aung (center) and Air Force Chief Maung Muang Kyaw.

Mytel is part-owned by Star High, a subsidiary of the military conglomerate Myanmar Economic Corporation. Prior to taking up the CFO position at Mytel, U Thein Aung was general manager at Star High.

The military owns between 28 and 39 percent of Mytel following the transfer of shares from its cronies to Star High. Viettel Global Investment, a company owned by Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defence, holds 49 percent, JFM said.

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