Relatives of Slain Yangon Family Reject Police Statement

By Thazin Hlaing 4 July 2017

YANGON — Relatives of a family of four found dead in Yangon’s Mingaladon Township in August last year have disputed a police report suggesting the family’s father, U Soe Naung, killed his wife and two sons before killing himself.

The four-member family—retired police lieutenant U Soe Naung, 37, his wife Daw Cherry Pwint, 34, their sons Han Thura, 13, and Swan Htet Myat, 8—was found dead with knife wounds at their house in Mingaladon Township on Aug. 20, 2016, shocking the Yangon public.

Photographs of three men outside their house close to the time of the deaths went viral and were distributed by police as possible suspects in the case. The family’s relatives have maintained that the family was murdered.

A police statement released on June 30, however, placed the crime on U Soe Naung and said the couple was facing financial hardship and had been arguing in the three months before the killings.

U Soe Naung was mentally unstable according to neighbors, said the statement which also quoted forensic scientists as saying that the four stab wounds found on U Soe Naung were self-inflicted.

Relatives of the family held a press conference at the family’s house on Monday. U Soe Naung’s brother and Buddhist monk U Wisara said police should have first consulted the family before releasing a statement.

“Saying U Soe Naung killed [his family] while he was feeling unstable harms the dignity of us relatives,” he added.
The police statement also suggested the family’s 2.7 million kyats debt played a factor in the deaths, though authorities acknowledged that they had one million kyats on hand and the wife was wearing a pair of diamond earrings.

“It is not usual for someone who cannot pay debt to wear diamond earrings,” said U Wisara.

According to the police statement, only the DNA of the four family members was found at their house. U Soe Naung’s DNA was found on the murder weapon.

Relatives also pointed out that the police report said U Soe Naung committed the murders with his left hand, claiming he was right-handed.

“We plan to send a complaint [to authorities] about the police statement,” said Daw Yi Yi Nwe, mother of Daw Cherry Pwint. “The statement harms the dignity of the deceased, so I would ask police to salvage their reputation.”

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.