Police Still Search for Mastermind Behind Lawyer’s Assassination

By May Sitt Paing 6 February 2017

RANGOON — Despite a second arrest related to the assassination of National League for Democracy legal advisor U Ko Ni, police are still hunting for Myint Swe, who allegedly hired the gunman Kyi Lin to shoot the lawyer.

The President’s Office announced on Friday that police apprehended Aung Win Zaw, another conspirator, in Hpa-an in Karen State on Monday after he fled from Rangoon. The gunman Kyi Lin was arrested immediately after the assassination that took place at Rangoon International Airport on Jan 29.

But the statement did not clearly mention if Aung Win Zaw and Myint Swe were the same person, causing confusion among the public who have been following the investigation. The announcement also did not mention the relation between the gunman and Aung Win Zaw.

“Myint Swe and Aung Win Zaw are not the same person. In order to avoid information leaks, senior officers are only now talking about the case,” said a police officer to The Irrawaddy on Monday.

According to a police account of assassin Kyi Lin aka Ko Htoo that was leaked and went viral on the social media on Jan. 30, Myint Swe asked him to “kill a Kalar for a car,” using a derogatory term describing people of South Asian descent in Burma, many of whom are Muslim.

The gunman described Myint Swe as over 50, 5 feet 4 inches tall, round-faced, neither fat nor thin, with curly hair. He added that he spoke slowly and previously worked in sculpting and bronze-casting businesses in Mandalay.

Myanmar Now reported on Sunday that Aung Win Zaw is a former military officer who was kicked out of the army for breaking martial laws. He was also involved in smuggling Buddha statues and spent a prison term with Kyi Lin in Obo Prison in Mandalay.