Thailand Asked to Probe Myanmar Junta Boss’s Links to Criminal Underworld

By The Irrawaddy ​​​ 12 January 2023

The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) have called on the Thai government to probe junta chief Min Aung Hlaing’s ties with a Myanmar crony arms broker who was arrested in September in Bangkok.

Tun Min Latt, 53, an arms broker for Myanmar’s junta, was arrested along with three Thais in dawn raids in Bangkok on Sept. 17 and indicted on Dec. 13 on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, and transnational organized crime.

“The Thai authorities should conduct an investigation into the ties of Min Aung Hlaing and his family with the underworld, and make its findings public. If it is found that they have broken Thai laws, they should be charged in a Thai court,” APHR chairman Charles Santiago said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Myanmar generals have been engaging in illicit businesses for decades. Senior officers like Min Aung Hlaing not only plunder Myanmar’s natural resources paying close to no taxes, but are also involved in the narcotics trade, or at the very least turn a blind eye to it and are paid for doing so,” he added.

Over 200 million baht (US$5.4 million) worth of drugs and other items were confiscated from Tun Min Latt and his accomplices, the Thai police said.

Based on the seizure records, Justice for Myanmar (JFM), a covert activist group tracking the junta’s businesses, said items confiscated from the arms broker’s Bangkok home included the title document for a Bangkok four-bedroom condo worth nearly US$1 million belonging to Min Aung Hlaing’s son Aung Pyae Sone.

Other items seized included two Siam Commercial Bank passbooks belonging to Khin Thiri Thet Mon, Min Aung Hlaing’s daughter.

Tun Min Latt runs the Star Sapphire Group of companies, which brokered imports of Israeli reconnaissance drones and aircraft parts for the Myanmar Air Force, according to sources.

Star Sapphire Group is partnered with two military-owned business conglomerates – Myanma Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) – in numerous ventures, sources said.

Thai authorities have however not yet confiscated the assets of Min Aung Hlaing’s children in Bangkok despite their links to Tun Min Latt.