Student Charged For Sending ‘Violent’ Text Message

By Moe Myint 7 July 2016

RANGOON — A 17-year-old male private university student has been charged by Rangoon police under section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law for sending an SMS text message with violent content to a young woman on Saturday.

At a Wednesday press conference, Rangoon Division chief of police Col Win Naing said that the offending student, Min Khant Maung Maung, had testified to the police while being placed under custody on Monday that he had “accidentally” sent the message to the young woman.

The student explained to the police that he was a keen computer game enthusiast who likes to “joke” with his gaming colleagues over SMS. On this particular instance, he mistyped the recipient’s phone number before sending one such joke.

Police Major Hla Wai read the offending message at the press conference: “Got 80 AK-47 assault rifles and 20 C-4 bombs. Will attack Junction Square car park and Myanmar Plaza [both major Rangoon shopping complexes] around 2 p.m. on July 10. When the mission is completed, come to withdraw the money, Yakuzi.”

The young woman who received this message, Theingi Kyaw of Rangoon’s Botahtaung Township, informed the township police the same day.

The Rangoon Police chief said, “Honestly, we didn’t want to take action against him.”

He admitted that the police were initially shocked by the message and immediately tracked down the number of the 17-year-old student who had sent it.

He said they decided to press charges against the young man to make an example to the public not to communicate such “bad jokes”—which, if disseminated widely, could cause “instability” in society.

Since last month, the Rangoon police have beefed up their street presence in relative crime hotspots such as Hlaing Tharyar, South Dagon, Thanlyin and Kamayut townships, in a special drive to reduce murder, rape and violent crime.

The drive is officially being conducted with the “collaboration” with local residents—under the norms of “community policing”—and the police have claimed a 60 percent reduction in crime compared to previous months.