NAYPYITAW — Police have charged 15 individuals of ACE Company including company chairman U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San on 17 counts of illegal possession of firearms and illicit drugs and others, deputy home affairs minister Maj-Gen Aung Soe told reporters on Thursday.
“We’ve detained 15 persons in connection with this case, and are conducting investigation,” said Maj-Gen Aung Soe.
On Oct. 15, police detained U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San, who is the son of sports minister under U Thein Sein’s administration U Tint San, and two ACE employees at Naypyitaw Airport after discovering 12 WY tablets, 1.5 grams of methamphetamine, two pistols and 72 bullets in U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San’s backpack.
According to to the deputy home affairs minister, a total of 24 firearms—20 guns and four air guns—have been seized from ACE hotel, company property, and U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San’s houses in Naypyitaw and Yangon so far.
The 15 men are charged on ten counts in Naypyitaw and seven counts in Yangon of illegal possession of firearms and drugs as well as under the State Secrets Act, Export/Import Law and Telecommunications Law, according to the homes affairs ministry.
“We’re collecting information from computer files and documents [of U Phyo Ko Tint San] and are investigating to identify more accomplices,” said Maj-Gen Aung Soe.
U Than Zaw Aung, a lawyer based in Yangon, said U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San’s case should be tried at a district level court because he is charged under the State Secrets Act which carries harsh penalties.
“If he is sentenced separately for separate counts, he may get over 20 years in prison. Each count could hand down three to seven years of imprisonment. And the charge under State Secrets Act is punishable by 14 years in prison. It depends on what the court will decide,” U Than Zaw Aung told The Irrawaddy.
According to initial police investigation, U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San had been planning to establish a security company though none of the existing laws allows provision of armed security services by private companies.
U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San’s case has been transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), and progress on the investigation of the case will be informed to the public according to the approval of the Union government, said the deputy home affairs minister.