Weekly Update: 034

by mohingamatters

Folks, we are covering two weeks worth of updates today. The military proxy party introduced its new leadership with Min Aung Hlaing’s loyalists while the NUG said it will take down the regime with six warfronts in one year. Meanwhile, more lives are sacrificed on a daily basis. Things aren’t getting any better, but read all about them here.

Internal Politics

  • Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Dr Sean Turnell received three year jail time

On September 29, the detained leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her economic advisor Dr Sean Turnell both received three-year imprisonment for breaking the colonial-era Official Secrets Act. 

  • USDP elected Min Aung Hlaing’s loyalists as the new leadership

After a two-day convention on October 4 and 5, the military’s proxy party had elected the coup leader’s close ties in its leadership positions. Khin Yi, a former chief of police and retired brigadier general, was chosen as the new party chairman, replacing incumbent Than Htay. The 70-year-old former chief of police initially took a position in the military council’s cabinet but he was forced to retire from the position, and took duties from the USDP party two months prior to the convention. The two vice chairmen retired general Myat Hein, and former president office minister retired general Hla Tun remained in their positions. However, the general secretary position will be replaced with new personnel from the military. Experts speculated that the coup leader consolidated his influence by installing his loyalists in the USDP leadership to pursue his dream of becoming a president.

  • The NUG estimates one-year of military confrontations to take down Min Aung Hlaing’s regime

The NUG announced in the press conference held on October 7 that the government estimated one-year wartime to uproot Min Aung Hlaing’s regime. According to the NUG’s press secretary U Nay Phone Latt, the civilian government is now strategizing six different war fronts with the help of alliance forces. The press secretary continued that the foundation has been laid for the war, and said the year 2023 will be a defining moment for the civilians’ armed resistance. The NUG encouraged the public to prepare for the darkest time ahead, and to support one another. 

  • Junta pardoned a corrupt police officer and re-assigned to his position 

Myanmar Now reported on October 6 that the military pardoned a former police officer from his imprisonment, and re-assigned him in Naypyidaw. Police officer Thein Naing was charged with corruption charges and received four year of jail-time in March 2020. In the regulation, officers who commit corruption charges are either jailed or dismissed from their posts. However, Officer Thein Naing was re-assigned to his position, and compensation will be paid for the time he spent in jail. Police officers who joined CDM concluded that by offering the job back to a corrupted police officer, Min Aung Hlaing’s regime has now officiated corruption under its watch. 

  • Editor of Narinjara, Rakhine based news outlet, faced charges 

On October 5, the military council opened a case against U Khine Myat Kyaw, the editor of Sittwe based news Narinjara,  with Article 66 of Telecommunications Law, and Penal Code Section 505A for a news story from Mrauk-U Township that Narinjara covered on September 30. The military targeted the news outlet because the news outlet revealed that the regime forces used landmines which caused civilian deaths, according to U Khine Myat Kyaw. The editor told Irrawaddy that he will face the lawsuit since the news report was written with supporting evidence from the locals. 

International Affairs

  • Junta court sentenced the Japanese filmmaker 7 years of imprisonment

On October 5, Toru Kubota, a Japanese filmmaker who was arrested in July, received seven year jail time for incitement, according to the verdict delivered by a junta-controlled court. He will receive another verdict on immigration charges on October 12. Kubota was arrested while he was filming an anti-coup protest in Yangon in July, alongside two other Myanmar nationals. He is the fifth foreign journalist detained after the coup in Myanmar. An official from the Japanese Foreign Ministry told Al Jazeera that the military had asked Myanamr authorities for the early release of the filmmaker. 

  • ASEAN to shun Myanmar junta in upcoming summit

On October 4, the Phnom Penh Post reported that Myanmar junta will not be invited to the upcoming ASEAN Summit. The 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit will be held on November 10-13, and only non-political representatives from Myanmar will be allowed, according to the current chair of the 10-member bloc Cambodia. The decision came after assessing the regime’s failure to implement the five-point consensus, and continuation of crackdown on democracy activists including the death sentences. 

Business Matters

  • The regime terminated access to Myanmar company database

Starting from September 26, the Myanmar Companies Online (MyCO), a database of foreign and local companies in Myanmar, was restricted by the regime. Operating under the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, MyCO was widely used by media, business transparency monitoring groups, and individuals who follow investments. Since MyCO is now restricted, analyses can no longer be conducted which could impact the potential investments to Myanmar. 

  • US imposed sanctions on Myanmar arms dealers

On October 6, the US Treasury listed Dynasty International, owned by two Myanmar arms dealers, in its sanction blacklist for “supporting the oppressive military junta”. The US sanction targeted the owners Aung Moe Myint and brother Hlaing Moe Myint, and the company’s director Myo Thitsa, for “supplying weapons, armaments, missiles and aircraft to the regime”. The Treasury wrote in its statement that Dynasty International has been fascinating weapon purchases since the coup. According to the Irrawaddy News’ report from October 2021, Aung Moe Myint had connected the Myanmar military with Belarus after 2011. 

  • PUMA Energy to sell its shares and leave

On October 5, Switzerland based investment company Trafigura announced that its PUMA Energy planned to sell its shares to a local company and leave Myanmar. According to the statement, the board decided to leave Myanmar in early 2022, and it has now agreed to sell its shares from Puma Energy Asia Sum (PEAS) and National Energy Puma Aviation Services (NEPAS) to a local business. PUMA started working in Myanmar in 2015, and imported aviation-use and other fuels. However, PUMA’s local affiliate Myanmar Petroleum Product Enterprise (MPPE) is currently under the control of the military regime. Amnesty International warned that PUMA’s infrastructures should not be handed over to the military regime, and local rights group Justice for Myanmar (JEM) showed concerns about the new owners of PUMA’s shares as international corporations which left Myanmar after the coup sold their business to local companies which have business ties with the regime. 

Protest & fundraising 

  • Brave young protesters showed defiance at Shwedagon on full moon day

On October 9 during the festival of light celebration, young protesters from Yangon Revolution Force’s Soft Strike Community went up to the iconic Shwedagon pagoda to hold a banner that says “Viva la revolution for the justice” amid the tight security with a mere belief that the pubic who come to pay homage to the pagoda are on their side. “Only if the people power revolution has become successful will our dreams and prayers become true”, they said.

  • Fundraising around the globe

Fundraisings and campaigns have been on surge with the announcement of the escalation of the resistance war. On October 9 alone, there are fundraising activities in Thailand, Japan, America and South Korea. Underground UG Family went on the streets of Bangkok,Thailand, with a donation box to raise funds. In Thailand’s Chonburi district, Ban Bueng, Burmese people in Thailand held a soccer match to raise funds.Similarly, in Malaysia’s Johor, Spring Revolution fundraising campaign with a concert was held. Similar fundraising campaigns were held in South Korea’s Chungju and the United State’s New York. Fundraising for Myanmar was also held in Japan’s Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo.

  • A resistance movie became a hit among Burmese diaspora 

Shot on an iphone-11 about a soldier that had defected from the military,  Ko Pauk’s short film was well-received among Burmese diaspora among the world raising funds for the revolution. The first show was held in London and was a huge success. Later, this film was screened in New York, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and is scheduled to be screened in Norway, New Zealand, Taiwan, Germany and so on. For the audience, the film reminded them once again why they had to continue fighting and call for justice.

Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties

  • Pyu Saw Htee couple attacked in Kyaikto tsp, Mon State

On the afternoon of September 25, U Aye Lwin and Daw Myint Than, the husband, and wife known as the leaders of Pyu Saw Htee militia, were attacked by unknown gunmen in their home in Theinzayat Town, Kyaikto Township, Mon State. Daw Myint Than was shot seven times and killed on the spot while her husband only suffered a minor injury. They were notorious in the region for coordinating with the military, giving information about the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) as such. Both were also said to be members of the military proxy party, the United Solidarity & Development Party (USDP).

  • Military informer and ward administrator targeted in South Dagon tsp, Yangon

On the morning of September 29, two people on a motorbike were gunned down in South Dagon Township, Yangon. They were identified as the junta-appointed hundred household administrator Zaw Min Tun and his colleague Nwe Ni Hlaing, who was also known as a military informer. The man was killed on the spot while Nwe Ni Hlaing was taken to a hospital with critical wounds. Yangon-based UG forced called SGDF claimed responsibility for the attack.

  • Pyu Saw Htee leader who vowed to demolish PDF died in Thaton tsp, Mon State

On September 29, news came from Thaton Township, Mon State that the junta-backed militia’s leader Soe Win was shot and killed during Nan Htike Aung Operation carried out by Thaton’s People’s Defense Force (PDF). Soe Win who publicly vowed to demolish PDF was apparently attacked in a teashop. A gun was found on his body when he passed away.

  • Junta’s soldier on plain clothes attacked and killed in Pabedan tsp, Yangon

On September 30, a soldier from the junta’s forces was targeted by the urban guerilla force in downtown Yangon. The incident took place at the corner of 26th Street and Maharbandoola Road when the soldier in plain clothes was shot about five times up close. He was reportedly pronounced dead while being sent to the hospital. Another man near the scene was also injured, not critical. Initial reports said that the shooters were captured by the regime forces immediately but later confirmed news described they had escaped.

  • Judge shot and killed in Muse, Shan State

On the evening of October 6, a township judge named U Zeyar Min was shot and killed by gunmen on the Pyidaungsu Road, Muse in Shan State. The 37-year-old was in his car when two shooters approached him on their motorbike and opened fire on him. It’s unknown who carried out the attack but the judge was said to have given harsh sentences to the political prisoners.

Arbitrary Arrest, Killings & Violence

  • NLD’s spokesperson from Magway Region killed by SAC’s soldiers

On September 24, the regime’s soldiers reportedly abducted Ko Thaw Zin oo, a spokesperson of the NLD in Seikphyu Township, and tortured him to death in Magway Region. Min Aung Hlaing’s forces took him against his will in Anout Kan Phyu Village and killed him on the same day. Ko Thaw Zin Oo was also an executive member of the NLD in Seikphyu township. His remaining body was found with many wounds all over the body on the next day.  

  • Myanmar OnlyFans Model jailed for six years

Two of Myanmar’s most popular models on adult subscription site OnlyFans such as Nang Mwe San and Thin Zar Wint Kyaw were arrested by the regime in early August and charged for “harming the culture and dignity” of the country. On September 27, Nang Mwe San was reported to have been sentenced to six years in prison by the tribunal inside the Insein Prison in Yangon. Nang Mwe San, a model, and former doctor, had also previously taken part in protests against the military. She became the first person in Myanmar jailed for OnlyFans content.

  • Japanese filmmaker jailed for 10 years

Toru Kubota, the Japanese documentary filmmaker, who was arrested along with non-violent protestors On July 30 was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the regime on October 5. Kubota faced multiple charges including the electronics act, the sedition act, and immigration laws. The whereabouts of those who were detained on the same day as he has not been disclosed so far.

  • Journalist faced extra charges after being detained for covering protest

Ma Mhuu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun was one of the two journalists detained in Yangon’s Panpingyi Street when the military soldiers cracked down on the rally by ramming into the group of young people with a vehicle. She was critically injured in the head and leg during the incident. As soon as she got better and was released from the hospital, the military charged her with the sedition act 505A. This week, we learned that Ma Mhuu Yadanar faces one more charge under the anti-terrorism act although she is said to have not recovered fully and is unable to take the stairs due to her leg injuries.

  • A prisoner beaten to death in Myingyan Prison, Mandalay Region

On October 4, Ko Nay Myo Oo, who had been sentenced to one month in prison for drug use, passed away with wounds in Myingyan Prison, Mandalay Region. It was reported that he was surrounded and beaten up on the day earlier by the prison authorities on the pretext that he had been acting crazy due to the alcohol. At least five prison guards participated in the beating and after the death, they said that he died of swallowing his own vomit. Myingyan Prison is notorious for beating up prisoners, especially prisoners of conscience.

  • NLD member & family missing since detention in Homelin tsp, Sagaing Region

U Kyaw Swe Win, a member of parliament (MP) representing NLD in Homelin Township, Sagaing Region was detained along with family including a 10-year-old daughter on the evening of October 5 in Monywa, Sagaing Region. The 39-year-old has participated in the resistance movement since the coup and he has been charged with the sedition act 505A. The regime has not released the news about his detention and the location of the whole detained family remains unknown.

Armed Resistance

  • SAC’s forces terrorized villages in Kanbalu tsp, thousands fled to safety

Since October 3, the regime’s forces have been reportedly ransacking at least eight villages in Kantbalu Township, forcing tens of thousands of villagers to leave their homes. As the resistance is strong in a nearby location, the military forces have started stationing in Zaw Chaung Village and frequently causing chaos in the area to prevent the local defense forces from growing. When they entered into the Zaw Chaung Village, the explosions set up by PDF blew up, but there is no verified news about the casualties.

  • KIA & PDF clashed with SAC’s soldiers in Ta’ang area, Shan North

On October 4, the combined forces of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and PDF mounted an offensive against the regime’s forces in Ta’ang (Palaung) area in Shan-north. Since 11 am, both counterparts exchanged firings in Hoko and Mankan wards in Sakar Town and suffered casualties according to local sources. The fight later spread to other wards and resulted in damaging many religious buildings and properties. Many residents have left their homes to avoid further danger.

  • Seven SAC soldiers died during ambush in Pale, Sagaing Region

On October 6, the junta’s soldiers who were patrolling in Pale Town, Sagaing Region were ambushed by local resistance forces. Three artillery were shelled toward the junta squad n front of the township fire station followed by a brief back-and-forth firing. Five soldiers died on the spot and ten were injured, two of them died the next day.

  • Regime’s forces air-bombed village, burning down monastery in Karen State

In the early morning of October 6, three fighter jets of the military bombed Makatta Village, Kyarinseikkyi Township, Karen State which is 10 miles away from the Thai border. The attack came around 2 am and hit a monastery. The building was burned down and one of the monks was wounded. Many civilian housings were also damaged by the airstrike.

  • PDF leader missing after shootout in Kyaukse tsp, Mandalay Region

Ko Yarzar Min, the leader of Kyaukse-based PDF (KDDF) is reportedly missing following a shootout on Yangon-Mandalay Express Road. The incident took place on October 7 when Ko Yarzar Min and his rangers were plotting an explosion attack targeting the SAC soldiers and they were ambushed. A back and forth shooting was carried out and Ko Yarzar Min has been missing since.  

Source: Myanmar Now, Khit Thit, Irrawaddy, Mizzima, Ayeyarwaddy Times, People’s Spring, Al Jazeera

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