Military businessman and ex-navy officer shot dead near his home in Yangon

General manager of two military-run companies Thein Aung was shot and killed near his home in Yangon’s Mayangone Township at 7am on Thursday.

Ward administrator Ye Win Aung told Myanmar Now that Thein Aung and his wife, Dr Theint Aung Thu were both shot four times, 50 yards from their home in Mayangone’s seventh ward. 

Thein Aung died at the scene after being shot in the neck, and Theint Aung Thu was hit in the abdomen, left shoulder and right leg but survived.

“She managed to run with a limp. She started calling for help once her husband fell down,” the administrator said, adding that she was hospitalised for her injuries. 

Both are 56 years old and had moved to the ward with their adult children following the February 1 coup.

Thein Aung, formerly a major in Myanmar’s navy, held leadership positions in multiple military-owned ventures, including as the general manager of the conglomerate Myanmar Economic Corporation and its subsidiary Star High Co., Ltd. 

He was also one of the three Myanmar executives heading telecoms operator Mytel, a joint venture between the military and Viettel, which is owned by Vietnam’s defence ministry. 

Multiple engineers from Mytel who are on strike in accordance with the Civil Disobedience Movement confirmed to Myanmar Now that Thein Aung worked as the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). 

However, according to a report by activist group Justice For Myanmar, he joined Mytel as a member of the board of directors in 2018 and served as the CFO of the company until 2019 when he resigned.

The striking engineers said that Mytel’s leadership has included prominent military officers, including former colonel Khin Maung Soe, who graduated from the Defence Services Academy alongside junta chief Gen Min Aung Hlaing.

Another former colonel, Zaw Lynn was Mytel’s Chief Information Officer under Thein Aung. 

“He was such a quiet person. He rarely ever abused or flaunted his authority,” one of the Mytel engineers participating in the CDM said of Thein Aung. “When he came to Sagaing, he said that we could vote for anyone we liked and that our jobs at Mytel shouldn’t have any influence over our votes.”

Although junta troops typically cordon off neighbourhoods and block traffic following the shooting of one of their administrators or informants, by Thursday afternoon—more than six hours after the incident—they had yet to appear at the scene of Thein Aung’s murder, according to multiple sources.  

The striking engineers speculated that it was unlikely the assassination could have been perpetrated by an anti-junta resistance group, such as the People’s Defence Force, which has been carrying out targeted assassinations of accused military collaborators. 

“They live in quite a wealthy neighborhood. The fact that the assailants knew their exact address suggests that it was an inside job,” one of the engineers said.

Myanmar Now was unable to verify the claims of the engineers regarding those responsible for killing Thein Aung.

Thein Aung has been said to have served on the board of multiple military owned businesses, including the Star High Group and the Star High company, Jewels of Angels, Golden Majestic Star Mobile, Agro Pack and Telecom International Myanmar. 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on November 5 to clarify that Thein Aung was still Mytel’s CFO at the time of his death.

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