High-Profile Arms Case Handed over To Naypyitaw Court

By Moe Moe 20 July 2018

NAYPYITAW — A high-profile arms case connected with the son of the sports minister during U Thein Sein’s administration was handed over to the Dekkhinathiri District Court in Naypyitaw after Myanmar’s Supreme Court ruled that the all of the detained suspects shall face trial at a single court.

Police detained U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San, who is the owner of ACE Co and the son of the former sports minister, and his two employees at Naypyitaw Airport last October 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 investigation led to the seizure of about 30 firearms, bullets and drugs from ACE Hotel, company property, and U Phyo Ko Ko Tint San’s houses in Naypyitaw and Yangon. According to the Home Affairs Ministry, police have detained more than 10 suspects in connection with the seizures.

Police filed charges against them at Naypyitaw and Yangon courts separately, but the Supreme Court has ruled that all of the suspects shall be tried at a single court.

Four suspects, three men and a woman, from Yangon arrived in Naypyitaw on July 11. The woman was granted bail, and the three men are being detained in Naypyitaw Prison, deputy district judge U Khin Maung Htwe of the Dekkhinathiri District Court told the media last week.

More than 400 witnesses will reportedly testify at the trial.

The four suspects from Yangon were detained on 11 counts of charges for illegal possession of firearms and illicit drugs, according to the Home Affairs Ministry.

Other charges include Article 67 of the Telecommunications Law for keeping walkie-talkies, Article 8 of the Export/Import Law for keeping drones, and 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 former President U Htin Kyaw and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The trial began at Dekkhinathiri District Court in January, but the court has only been questioning prosecution witnesses so far.

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.