UK Imposes More Sanctions on Myanmar Military-Linked Companies

By The Irrawaddy 25 August 2022

The UK announced a further round of sanctions against Myanmar’s junta on Thursday, targeting three military-linked businesses including Sky One Construction Co. Ltd, which the coup leader’s son is a director of.

Also sanctioned are the Star Sapphire Group of Companies and the International Gateways Group of Companies Limited, according to the UK government’s press release.

Britain stated in the press release that the three companies are being sanctioned in an effort to limit the Myanmar military’s access to arms and revenue.

Sky One Construction Co. Ltd was established in April 2013 by junta crony U Maung Maung Naing, who fronts a number of businesses connected to regime chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s family. His son, Aung Pyae Sone, is a director of Sky One, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration.

In recent years, Sky One won the contracts to build a new ward at the military hospital in Yangon’s Mingaladon Township, to construct a media center for the regime’s mouthpiece Myawaddy TV in the compound of the military records office, and to build the private Moe Kaung Treasure Maternal and Child Hospital, which is owned by Min Aung Hlaing’s family and is also inside the military records office compound.

The company has also won contracts to expand two military air bases, Cocogyun and Hmawbi, in Yangon Region.

Business sources said that Sky One makes huge profits from military-linked projects, as the Myanmar military pays the prices quoted by the company.

The Star Sapphire Group of Companies play a key role in enabling the military regime’s crimes against the Myanmar people. The group has acquired wealth through corruption and illicit business dealings, according to investigations by Justice For Myanmar, a covert group of activists campaigning for justice and accountability.

Star Sapphire Group is controlled by individuals linked to the Myanmar military, and has been involved in a wide range of businesses, including mining, manufacturing, defense, casinos, energy, agriculture and trade.

International Gateways Group of Companies Limited (ICG) has been involved in arms procurement for the Myanmar military worth millions of US dollars. ICG is also controlled by a small group of individuals linked to the junta and has a long history of supplying arms and other equipment to the Myanmar military.

Justice For Myanmar welcomed the new UK sanctions.

“The UK government’s latest round of sanctions helps to stop the continued flow of arms and funds to the Myanmar military junta, a terrorist organization that commits atrocity crimes with total impunity,” said Ma Yadanar Maung, the Justice For Myanmar spokesperson.

The latest sanctions are also intended to impact the case brought by Gambia against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice, which will determine whether Myanmar violated its obligations under the Genocide Convention in relation to the military’s violence against the Rohingya ethnic minority in 2016 and 2017.

The same individuals responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya now head the junta and have been waging a campaign of terror against the Myanmar people since last year’s coup.

Over 2,200 people have been killed by the military regime, while more than 15,000 have been arrested. The junta has employed widespread torture, indiscriminate air and artillery strikes and the torching of villages in its war against the Myanmar people, said Ma Yadanar Maung.

Justice For Myanmar has also called on the United Nations and its member states to take coordinated action against the junta to stop the flow of funds and arms that sustain its crimes, and to hold all perpetrators of those atrocities to account.

“We condemn the continued inaction of Australia, India, Japan and South Korea, regional democracies that have so far refused to impose any sanctions on the junta. We demand that they live up to their international responsibilities and act,” said Justice For Myanmar.