Junta briefly detains KBZ Bank executive at airport

Nang Lang Kham, the daughter of tycoon Aung Ko Win and the executive director of business conglomerate Kanbawza Group, was briefly detained by junta officials at the Yangon airport on Sunday morning, according to multiple sources. 

The 33-year-old was on her way to Bangkok, Thailand, and waiting to board the commercial flight when three military intelligence officers took her to a separate area for questioning, according to a leaked internal company report addressed to Aung Ko Win. 

She was interrogated for more than two hours before being released, but missed her flight.

The military intelligence officer who interrogated Nang Lang Kham was identified as Maj Kyaw Myat Lin.

“She was allowed to go and was not interrogated publicly but taken to a room,” a source at the airport told Myanmar Now on the condition of anonymity.

The individual was not able to provide details on her interrogation.

Another source close to her family confirmed to Myanmar Now that Nang Lang Kham was interrogated and said that she left for Bangkok on Monday.

Nang Lang Kham is the eldest of Aung Ko Win’s three daughters and deputy chief executive officer of KBZ Bank. She is the co-founder and chair of Brighter Future Myanmar, a philanthropic foundation under Kanbawza Group.

The business interests of her father, who is also known as Sayar Kyaung, include banking, an airline, construction and mining ventures.  

After the military coup last year, Kanbawza Group was criticised by members of the anti-junta resistance after allegations emerged that KBZ bank had frozen assets and revealed personal data of individuals who had sent funds to groups opposed to the military. The company denied implementing such measures.

Nang Lang Kham’s brief detention was the latest in a series of recent high-profile arrests of cronies who had maintained close ties to the military prior to the coup in February last year.

Myanmar Now previously reported that two such individuals—Khin Shwe, who heads Zaykabar, a conglomerate with interests in real estate and telecommunications, and Chit Khine, whose Eden Group has even more expansive operations in a number of key sectors, including construction, agriculture, and banking—were taken into regime custody just over a month apart.

Khin Shwe was detained along with his son on March 21 on charges related to a development project on military-owned land, and Chit Khine was arrested on April 22 to face allegations of corruption in connection with a power-generation project in southern Shan State. The alleged offenses date back to 2018, when the National League for Democracy government ousted by last year’s coup was in power.

Both men started their business empires under the dictatorship of former military strongman Than Shwe, and both have extensive ties to leading figures in Myanmar’s armed forces. The fact that even they have run afoul of the current regime has sent a chilling message to others trying to navigate the country’s increasingly stormy economic waters.

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