Myanmar citizens arrested in New York over alleged plot to kill nation’s UN ambassador

The Department of Justice logo is seen at their headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, August 5, 2021 prior to a press conference regarding a civil rights matter.
Greg Nash

Two Myanmar citizens were arrested in the U.S. on Friday over an alleged plot to kill the nation’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Federal prosecutors in New York announced the arrest of Phyo Hein Htut and Ye Hein Zaw, accusing them of conspiracy to assault and make a violent attack on Kyaw Moe Tun.

The men, who live in New York, were expected to appear in court Friday.

Authorities say that in July, the duo communicated with an arms dealer in Thailand who sells weapons to Myanmar’s military, which overthrew the democratically elected government in February.

Htut and the dealer agreed on a plan in which Htut would hire attackers to hurt Tun to try and force him to step down, according to court documents. If he did not step down, prosecutors said, the ambassador would be killed.

After agreeing to the plan, Zaw allegedly gave Htut $4,000 as an advanced payment on the attackers, according to the complaint.

During a recorded phone call, Zaw also agreed to pay an additional $1,000 to conduct the attack on Tun’s home in Westchester, N.Y., and to find an additional sum so the attackers could “finish off” the ambassador, authorities allege.

The men were charged by separate criminal complaints with one count of conspiracy to assault and make a violent attack upon a foreign official, which carries a maximum of five years in prison.

Tun represents the civilian-elected government that was overthrown and has denounced February’s coup. According to The Associated Press, the military tried to fire him, but the U.N. has not taken any action.

The ambassador told Reuters in an interview published Wednesday that security was recently stepped up at his home due to a threat made against him.

“Reportedly there is some threat. The police are working on it. Necessary security has be provided by the police,” Tun said.

Tags Burma Department of Justice Kyaw Moe Tun Myanmar

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