Lawyer accused of aiding junta generals shot dead near Yangon

A corporate lawyer accused of helping Myanmar’s military leaders to launder money was shot and killed in the port city of Thanlyin on Friday, sources there said.

Min Tayza Nyunt Tin, 56, was driving his car in Thanlyin—which is located on the Bago River opposite the city of Yangon—when two armed assailants opened fire on him at around 1pm, a colleague of the victim told Myanmar Now.

“At least 13 or 14 rounds were fired,” said the colleague, who did not want to be identified. He added that the victim died before he could be taken to the hospital.

A Yangon-based urban guerrilla group called Urban Owls claimed responsibility for the attack. In a statement released later the same day, the group called Min Tayza Nyunt Tin’s killing a “warning to all cronies and associates” of the generals who seized power in a coup more than two years ago.

It added that the slain lawyer helped sanctioned regime leaders launder money in foreign countries and transfer their assets abroad.

Min Tayza Nyunt Tin was the founder and CEO of BIZ Law Consult Myanmar, a law firm that focused on intellectual property and trademark rights.

His firm’s Facebook Page also advertised services for opening bank accounts, buying properties and getting visas in neighbouring Thailand, where he had a branch office. 

According to a spokesperson for the Urban Owls group, he was close to retired air force commander-in-chief Gen Myat Hein, who he reportedly thanked on social media for contributing to his personal wealth.

He was also appointed to the legal advisory team of the Dawei Special Economic Zone following the February 2021 coup. However, his colleague denied allegations that Min Tayza Nyunt Tin had ties to the regime.

His assassination is the latest in a series of attacks targeting officials and alleged junta collaborators in the wake of the military’s deadly crackdowns on peaceful anti-coup protests.

In November 2021, Thein Aung, a former army officer who served as the chief finance officer of the military-owned telecommunications company Mytel, was shot dead near his home in Yangon’s Mayangone Township. 

In September of last year, Ohn Thwin, a retired brigadier general and former diplomat, was killed along with his son-in-law in retaliation for his public endorsement of the regime’s use of violence against its opponents.

Also on Friday, the US government announced a new round of sanctions targeting another alleged junta crony and others accused of enabling the regime’s atrocities against civilians.

Tun Min Latt, his spouse Win Min Soe, and two companies registered under their names were added to the list of sanctions targets for helping the junta to import military arms and equipment, including drones and aircraft parts.

Activist group Justice For Myanmar described their company Star Sapphire, which was also included in the latest US sanctions, as having “played a key role in brokering deals for arms and military equipment” with China and Israel on behalf of Myanmar’s armed forces, in which Tun Min Latt was “directly involved.”

The move comes six months after Tun Min Latt’s arrest in Thailand on charges of narcotics trafficking and money laundering.

The other new sanctions targets were three Myanmar-based companies that have helped the junta acquire jet fuel.

Pro-democracy activists have long called for efforts to deny the regime access to jet fuel as a means of limiting its ability to carry out indiscriminate airstrikes that have resulted in heavy civilian casualties.

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