Than Shwe’s Grandson Appears With Burma’s New Miss Universe

By The Irrawaddy 7 October 2013

RANGOON — Nearly six months after he made headlines for punching and slapping a traffic police officer for not properly clearing traffic for him at a busy intersection in Rangoon, Nay Shwe Thway Aung, the grandson of Burma’s former dictator Than Shwe, was the talk of the town again this weekend.

This time, the story was less violent—a picture on social media of the 21-year-old man attentively standing beside a canary-yellow Lamborghini as the freshly crowned Miss Universe Myanmar stepped out at a football stadium. Moe Set Wine was attending the opening game of the Universities Champions League, the president of which is reportedly Nay Shwe Thway Aung himself.

Moe Set Wine, 25, was selected last Thursday as the first Burmese woman in 50 years to have chance to compete in one of the international Miss Universe beauty pageant, and she made her first public appearance at opening ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

Minutes later, the photographs spread across blogs and Facebook and become the popular topic of the week, attracting fiery comments from Burmese Facebook users that the renowned playboy was now preying on Burma’s Miss Universe. Some users even called for Moe Set Wine to be stripped of her Miss Universe crown for associating with the general’s grandson.

Nay Shwe Thway Aung, also known as Pho Lapyae, is the favorite grandson of Than Shwe, the commander-in-chief of the Burma Army and head of state until 2011.

The grandson is no stranger to controversy and was at the center of a scandal in his teenage years when rumors spread that he was involved with certain Burmese celebrities and models. He was accused of kidnapping a celebrity model when he was 17.

Nay Shwe Thway Aung was also implicated in a drug scandal in Rangoon in 2009. Two of his friends, Burmese tycoon Maung Weik and a son of Lt-Gen Ye Myint, Aung Zaw Ye Myint, were arrested after a member of the Than Shwe family found some pills—thought to be ecstasy—on Nay Shwe Thway Aung’s person.

Following heated Facebook activity, a letter was posted online purportedly from Nay Shwe Thway Aung, in which he sought to distance himself from Moe Set Wine.

“I’m not friendly with her and the racing car is not even mine. I just greeted her as she arrived, carrying the trophy because I am the president of Universities Champion League. I’m sorry for Moe Set Wine for she received negative comments because of me,” said the letter.