By KYAW PHONE KYAW | FRONTIER
YANGON — Myanmar Now’s chief correspondent has asked Sanchaung police to take action after he was threatened by three men on Tuesday evening, in an incident he believes is related to his recent reporting.
Ko Swe Win was returning from a dinner hosted by United States Ambassador Scot Marciel when he was accosted by the men, who had been drinking at a nearby beer station in Sanchaung.
After confirming the reporter’s identity, the men levelled threats at Ko Swe Win, who left the encounter for fear of it escalating into a physical attack.
The following day, he filed a complaint at the township police station against the trio. After reviewing CCTV footage from the beer station, police identified one of the men, who appeared to have fled his home overnight.
Swe Win told Frontier he strongly believed the confrontation arose as a result of his work as a journalist, following a high-profile lawsuit levelled against him.
“This kind of case can happen in Sanchaung or anywhere else,” he said. “Potential cases in the future will be avoided only when the first case is handled. It makes me relieved to handle this case in a lawful way.”
Last week, Swe Win was threatened with a defamation lawsuit for a Facebook post discussing an article he had written on U Wirathu, vice-chairman of the Buddhist nationalist group Ma Ba Tha.
Wirathu had taken to social media to praise the killers of U Ko Ni, a renowned legal advocate and advisor to the National League for Democracy government, who was gunned down outside Yangon Airport in January.
The monk had demanded an apology from Swe Win, who had referred to the assessment of a senior member of the Buddhist clergy that by celebrating the murder, Wirathu had committed an act warranting expulsion from the Sangha.
U Kyaw Myo Shwe, a Ma Ba Tha supporter who filed the case in Mandalay, subsequently attempted to withdraw it after a public backlash.
Kyaw Myo Shwe is now facing a lawsuit of his own after a private citizen in Yangon claimed he had defamed State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Facebook.