Judge assassinated in Myanmar-China border town

A township-level judge died after being shot four times in the Shan State-China border town of Muse last week, according to local sources. 

At the time Yazar Min Soe, 37, was attacked on the evening of October 6, he was alone in a parked car on the Union Highway in Muse’s Ho Mun ward. 

In CCTV footage seen by Myanmar Now, two perpetrators arrived at the scene on a motorcycle. One of the men shot the judge at close range through the front of his vehicle.

“He was killed on the spot,” a local source said.

In his role in the junta-controlled court system, area news outlets reported that Yazar Min Soe had become notorious for convicting and handing down prison sentences to activists for incitement.

At the time of reporting, none of the many armed groups active in Muse had claimed responsibility for his assassination. 

The body of Muse Township judge Yazar Min Soe, shot dead on October 6 (Supplied)

Shootings and explosive attacks have repeatedly occurred in Muse in recent months, often perpetrated by unidentified assailants. Local media reported that on September 13, four gunmen shot up a branch of KBZ Bank near the Thein Than Chi bus stop, killing three people and injuring one. Since the February 2021 coup, KBZ has been accused by the resistance of sharing account holders’ personal information with the junta, which has then used the information to track funds provided to groups in the anti-dictatorship movement and seize assets. 

An explosion took place at a traffic intersection near the Muse’s central market in early August in which one woman was killed and five men injured: two traffic police and three members of a military-backed militia. 

The attack was one of a series of strikes against junta-affiliated targets that followed the July 31 military raid of a casino in Muse. The operation was reportedly carried out under pressure from the Chinese government, which at the time was reportedly attempting to shut down a fraud ring believed to be operating from the casino.

With the Chinese border gates closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, locals have said that there has been a rise in gambling, drug use and illicit activities throughout Muse due to the subsequent economic downturn. Locals have alleged that such operations often have the tacit approval of the Myanmar military authorities, and that army personnel and members of local militias are frequently known to be involved. 

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