Suspect’s Father Gave Slain Facebook Comedian’s Family 150 Million Kyats, Court Told

By Zue Zue 5 November 2018

YANGON—The family of one of the accused in the murder of a popular Facebook comedian gave 150 million kyats to his family in exchange for dropping the case, an official of the national anti-graft body said in court on Friday.

U Moe Naing, an inspector with the Myanmar Anti-Corruption Commission, told the court during a trial session that the father of one of the three suspects in the case gave the father of comedian Aung Yell Htwe 130 million kyats, and 10 million kyats each to his uncle and brother, to drop the case.

The three detained murder suspects were released on July 25 before any charges could be brought against them, after the Yangon Eastern District Court accepted an appeal from the victim’s family asking them to settle the case.

As the case came under the spotlight, the Anti-Corruption Commission launched an investigation and in August filed a lawsuit against then Yangon Region attorney general U Han Htoo, a judge of the Yangon Eastern District Court, and five other law officers accused of taking bribes from the father of a suspect in exchange for their roles in dropping the case.

The commission said law officers intentionally built the murder case in such a way that it would be adjudged as lacking sufficient grounds to warrant further investigation, and that the since-removed regional attorney general approved a request from the victim’s family to drop the case without making a full assessment.

The Yangon Eastern District Court has since reopened the murder case against the three suspects.

According to U Moe Naing, U Khin Maung Lay, the father of the accused, approached U Myint Lwin, the uncle of Aung Yell Htwe. Through U Myint Lwin, the parents of the suspects met with the parents of Aung Yell Htwe, who offered them a personal “pardon.”

U Khin Maung Lay paid U Myint Oo, the father of Aung Yell Htwe, 130 million kyats by check. He also gave 10 million kyats each to U Myint Lwin and U Thant Zin Oo, the brother of Aung Yell Htwe.

The accused rejected the plaintiff’s testimony, and the next trial session will be held on Nov. 9.

Aung Yell Htwe died after allegedly being kicked and beaten by the three suspects while attending a party last New Year’s Eve in Yangon’s Thingangyun Township.