Myanmar Police Chief Warns Reporters Not to Trust Leaked Document About Lawyer’s Death

Myanmar’s police chief told media on Wednesday not to believe a leaked police document circulating widely via social media regarding the investigation of the murder of prominent human rights lawyer and ruling party advisor Ko Ni.

The prominent 63-year-old Muslim lawyer and advisor to the National League for Democracy (NLD) party was shot point blank in the back of the head on Jan. 29 at Yangon airport after returning with other government officials from Indonesia where they participated in a workshop about interfaith tolerance and reconciliation.

In the document published on social media on Tuesday, Kyi Lin, the gunman who killed Ko Ni and a taxi driver who chased him, told police that a man named Myint Swe hired him to murder the lawyer in exchange for a car.

“Of course, some things could have leaked out, but the best thing is not believe such things and to accept only what police have confirmed,” police Major General Zaw Win told reporters in the capital Naypyidaw.

“There are so many things online which are not true,” he said.

Some media reports on Wednesday said a man named Myint Swe had been arrested in southeastern Myanmar’s Karen state, but police officials there denied it.

“We haven’t nabbed the mastermind in Karen state,” said state police chief Kyi Lin. “We are doing our police work. We cannot confirm anything yet.”

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Myanmar police had arrested three other people in Ko Ni’s assassination, including Myint Swe, whom they accuse of masterminding the killing, near the Myanmar-Thailand border.

Police did not identify the other two suspects, the report said.

The central government has not announced any updates on the arrest of Myint Swe or others behind Ko Ni’s death. The President’s Office said on Monday that the killing was done to undermine the country’s stability.

Tensions between minority Muslim groups and the Buddhist majority run high in Myanmar, where a recent crackdown in the northern part of Rakhine state left about 90 people dead and forced more than 65,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee their homes.

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