Two men arrested in US over alleged plot to kill Myanmar’s UN ambassador

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said on Friday that two Myanmar citizens were accused of conspiracy to kill or hurt Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York.

The two were accused of conspiring with a Thai arms dealer who sold weapons to the Myanmar military, “seriously wounding or killing” the ambassador, and “planned assault on a foreign official that would happen on US territory,” he said. Audrey Strauss, Federal Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

The Burmese military seized power in a coup on February 1, and the Burmese ambassador, Kyaw Moung Tun, publicly opposed its withdrawal from the civilian government and lethal suppression of it. The UN has not yet recognized the military government. As the UN ambassador, Jue Meng Tun continues to represent the overthrown civilian government operating underground.

Kyaw Moe Tun told CNN that he learned of the alleged conspiracy on Tuesday and reported it to the US delegation and law enforcement agencies as a credible threat. He said the FBI and NYPD now provide him with 24-hour security.

The 28-year-old suspects Phyo Hein Htut and 20-year-old Ye Hein Zaw living in New York were charged with one count of conspiracy to attack and violently assault foreign officials, each with a maximum sentence of five years in prison. prison.

According to the lawsuit, Phyo Hein Htut told the FBI that the arms dealer had contacted through Facebook and FaceTime and allegedly provided him with cash to hire the attacker to harm the ambassador in an attempt to force him to give up his job.
Allegedly, if Kyaw Moe Tun did not resign, the arms dealer suggested that the attackers would kill him by manipulating the ambassador’s car tires while he was inside, according to the complaint.

After allegedly agreeing to the plan, Ye Hein Zaw was accused of transferring approximately US$4,000 to Phyo Hein Htut as an advance payment. According to the complaint, later, in a phone recording, the couple allegedly discussed how the attackers had to pay an additional $1,000 to carry out the attack and “remove” the ambassador.

A volunteer security guard of the UN delegation told the FBI that Phyo Hein Htut had approached him for the alleged conspiracy, saying that he had contacted a Thai arms dealer and allegedly hired a “killer to kill or injure the ambassador” .”

The alleged conspiracy occurred between July and August 5. According to the complaint, the planned attack will occur in Westchester County, New York, where the ambassador lives.

On February 27, Kyaw Moe Tun was removed from his post as Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations after delivering an impassioned speech to the United Nations, urging the use of “whatever means necessary” to stop the military coup in Myanmar. He refused to resign in a decision backed by the United Nations.

When asked if he believed the alleged attack stemmed from an order from the Burmese military government, the ambassador told CNN that he could not speculate on the behind-the-scenes conspiracy, but that this incident would not cause him to quit his job.

“Of course, what happened is disturbing, but my day job has not been affected,” said Kyaw Moe Tun. “I will continue with what I have to do. This will not prevent me from doing everything for the country and the people.”

Kyaw Moe Tun thanks the US government, the State Department, and law enforcement agencies for their “support and goodwill.” in response to the incident Assistance “and” professionalism “.

“They saved my life and prevented me from getting hurt,” he said.

4,444 Since coming to power, Myanmar’s security forces have killed at least 948 people and detained more than 7,000. According to the advocacy organization Political Prisoners’ Aid Association, these include doctors, protesters, opposition figures, teachers and teachers fighting the severe Covid outbreak. Children. In recent months, fighting between Burmese soldiers and local militia groups and ethnic armed groups has increased.

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