Yangon guerrilla group assassinates businessman accused of procuring arms for junta

The individual, who reportedly travelled to Russia with coup leader Min Aung Hlaing, allegedly imported military equipment for the regime

The Yangon-based resistance group Urban Owls announced that its members shot and killed a businessman on Monday who allegedly had purchased weapons for the junta. 

Accused arms broker Nyan Lwin Aung was attacked on 17th Street between the Latha and Lanmadaw police stations in downtown Yangon’s Latha Township at 10pm, a spokesperson for Urban Owls said. 

“We carried out this mission only after conducting a thorough and prolonged investigation to confirm the matter,” he told Myanmar Now. “This will serve as the first lesson for new cronies who benefit the army and cooperate with them in oppressing the people through the way they conduct their business.”

“The message we want to convey is: the citizens are fighting the junta army with everything they have—the army that [the cronies] depend on. There is no escape.”

Nyan Lwin Aung—whose age was not confirmed at the time of reporting—was a broker who had imported and installed facial recognition security cameras for the junta’s home affairs ministry, as well as purchased military equipment for the defence ministry from abroad, according to the Urban Owls. 

Nyan Lwin Aung, accused of being a junta arms broker for the junta,
was shot dead in downtown Yangon on October 2

He was the founder of North Gate Engineering and Technology and a travel company named Well & Fair Company Limited. North Gate is believed to have international subsidiaries in Thailand, China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

According to records from Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, both of Nyan Lwin Aung’s companies were established in mid-2018. He, along with two others—Nyo Tun Aung and Lei Lei Khaing—are listed as North Gate’s directors. 

When Myanmar Now called the phone number listed for North Gate’s head office in Yangon, the person who answered said that it was the wrong number; there was no answer at Well & Fair. Minutes after the calls, both of the companies’ Facebook pages were found to have been deleted. 

Urban Owls claimed that Nyan Lwin Aung had regularly accompanied Myanmar military generals on trips to Russia, a known source country for arms procurement.

The guerrilla group posted on its Facebook page that Nyan Lwin Aung joined junta chief Min Aung Hlaing during his travels to Russia in September 2022 and met with officers from the country’s Ministry of Defence.

“This guy was one of the businessmen who openly supported the military coup,” Urban Owls’ spokesperson said. “On social media, at the behest of the military council, he always labelled resistance groups as terrorists. He also forced his companies’ employees to recite the oath of allegiance that is used in the army. He escaped in the past because he maintained a low profile.”

Posts obtained by Urban Owls from the Facebook account reportedly used by Nyan Lwin Aung under the name “Mikel Van De Jong” indicate that he had commended the military’s acquisition of a Russian-made fighter jet and would “always stand for our country in accordance with the four points of allegiance.” The phrase was a reference to the oath undertaken by Myanmar army soldiers to sacrifice their lives for and remain loyal to the country; to honour fallen troops; and to follow orders from superiors. 

A Facebook post from the “Mikel Van De Jong” account that
Nyan Lwin Aung reportedly used, describing a commitment
to the military’s oath of allegiance (Photo: Urban Owls)

Myanmar Now is unable to independently verify the allegations against Nyan Lwin Aung. 

The military council has not released any information concerning his reported relationship with the regime, or regarding his death. 

Urban Owls has said that it will compile a list of young entrepreneurs who are cooperating with the junta and take action against them. 

Since the February 2021 coup, there have been several assassinations of officials and alleged collaborators with the military council by the resistance movement, and particularly by urban guerrilla groups.

In Yangon, the targets have included the chief financial officer of military-linked telecommunications company Mytel, the former head of security at the city’s airport, and a lawyer accused of laundering money for the generals. 

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