Police Officer Admits to ‘Setting Up’ Two Reuters Journalists

By Htun Htun 20 April 2018

YANGON — Police deliberately sought to entrap two Reuters reporters by handing them confidential government papers, a prosecution witness testified in court on Friday.

Police Captain Moe Yan Naing told the court that Police Brigadier General Tin Ko Ko ordered the police to ensnare the two Reuters reporters — Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo — who are facing trial for violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

Moe Yan Naing was the officer interviewed by Wa Lone in November about police operations in Rakhine State. He was one of two officers from the paramilitary 8th Security Police Battalion who the police identified in December as “allegedly involved in the case.”

Moe Yan Naing said he had been under arrest since the night of Dec. 12 and had been told to testify on Friday as a prosecution witness.

He was among several policemen interrogated by a police “information team” about their interactions with the Reuters reporters, he told the court on Friday.

Moe Yan Naing described to the court how Brigadier General Tin Ko Ko, who led the internal probe, had instructed Police Lance Corporal Naing Lin to arrange a meeting with Wa Lone that night and to hand over secret documents from Battalion 8 as part of a “set-up”to trap the two journalists.

He then ordered the Htaunt Kyant regional police force to arrest Wa Lone upon his departure from the restaurant, the meeting place.

Tin Ko Ko was not immediately available for comment on Friday.

“I am revealing the truth because police of any rank have their own integrity. It is true that they were set up,” Captain Moe Yan Naing told reporters.

Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo have been charged under the Official Secrets Act for possessing confidential government papers and face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison if found guilty.

The Home Affairs Ministry has said that it would take action against Captain Moe Yan Naing and Lance Corporal Khin Maung Lin for their role in passing the government documents to the two journalists.

The court appearance by the two police officers took place on Friday at Yangon North District Court.