Police tight-lipped on reported arrest of conspirator in U Ko Ni killing

By HEIN KO SOE & HTUN KHAING | FRONTIER

YANGON — Authorities have refused to confirm reports that the alleged chief conspirator in the killing of lawyer U Ko Ni has been arrested in the Kayin State border town of Myawaddy.

On Wednesday, media reports emerged claiming that U Myint Swe – who was named in a police document circulated on Tuesday as the architect of the brazen shooting – had been captured near the Thai border.

Speaking to reporters in Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday, chief of Myanmar police U Zaw Win said investigations were ongoing and that details would be released when they could be confirmed.

“It is more suitable than rumours on the internet,” he said.

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Ko Ni, a respected lawyer and adviser to the National League for Democracy, was shot in the head as he waited outside Yangon International Airport on Sunday afternoon.

Police named the killer as U Kyi Lin, who also killed shot dead taxi driver U Nay Win in the aftermath. Kyi Lin was arrested and remains in police custody. 

In the police document, Kyi Lin alleges that he met Myint Swe at a teashop on Yangon’s 35th Street in December and was offered a car in exchange for killing Ko Ni.

Kyi Lin described Myint Swe as being five feet four inches tall with a “round face” and wavy hair, who spoke quietly. He was told the hit was related to a money dispute.

On Tuesday, thousands gathered at Yayway Cemetery in northern Yangon to commemorate the life of Nay Win, from Mingalardon Township.

Like Ko Ni, whose funeral took place at the same cemetery a day earlier, the ceremony was attended by a mixture of military figures, politicians and civilians.

“I don’t have the words to accurately describe his bravery,” said NLD patron U Tin Oo at the ceremony.

U Min Ko Naing, a leader from the 88 Generation group, commended Nay Win’s bravery.

“If Nay Win did not sacrifice his life and try to arrest the murderer, the situation may have become worse and divisions could have spread.”

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