Suspects in Firearms Haul Brought to Trial

By Htet Naing Zaw 5 January 2018

NAYPYITAW — U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San, the chairman of ACE Co and son of the sports minister during U Thein Sein’s administration, and seven accomplices were brought to trial on Wednesday for the first time in a Naypyitaw court since they were detained in connection with a haul of firearms in October.

Police detained U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San and two ACE employees at Naypyitaw Airport on Oct. 15 after discovering 12 yaba tablets, 1.5 grams of methamphetamine, two pistols and 72 bullets in U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San’s backpack.

Further investigations led to the seizure of around 30 firearms, bullets and drugs from ACE hotel, company property, and U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San’s houses in Naypyitaw and Yangon.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has since taken over the case and has charged 15 individuals including U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San on 17 counts of illegal possession of firearms and illicit drugs and other charges including Article 67 of the Telecommunications Law for keeping walkie-talkies and Article 8 of the Export/Import Law for keeping drones.

Other charges includes Article 61(a) of the State Secrets Act for the unauthorized use of the National Security Council (NSC) logo on cars, and possession of bullet-proof jackets and camouflage jackets with SWAT badges similar to those worn by the bodyguards of President U Htin Kyaw and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, according to the Home Affairs Ministry.

A suspect identified as Kyaw Chan Nyein is still at large and cross-questioning of U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San will start at later trials, which are scheduled to be held every Wednesday, said U Hla Win, the judge of Dekkhinathiri District Court.

“We’ve issued a warrant for him,” U Khin Maung Htwe, the deputy district judge, told reporters.

U Phyo Phyo Tint San appeared to be in good health at the district court on Wednesday.

According to the police, violation of Article 67 of the Telecommunications Law is punishable by one year’s imprisonment, Article 8 of the Export/Import Law, three years’ imprisonment, and Article 61(a) State Secrets Act, two years’ imprisonment.

U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San, according to the initial investigation, had been planning to establish a security company, though none of the existing laws allows for the provision of armed security services by private companies.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.