A Myanmar business tycoon suspected of drug trafficking and linked to Gen Min Aung Hlaing and other top military junta’s upper echelons has been arrested in Bangkok, Thailand.
Narcotics Control Board authorities said on Wednesday that they had detained a Myanmar business tycoon suspected of drug trafficking. Three sources said it was linked to Myanmar’s ruling military junta’s upper echelons.
Tun Min Latt, 53, was arrested along with three Thai nationals in a dawn raid in Bangkok on charges of conspiracy to traffic narcotics and money laundering, according to deputy police spokesperson Kissana Phathanacharoen.
“Police are requesting pre-trial detention from the court,” Pol Col Kissana told Reuters.
According to sources in Myanmar familiar with the situation, Mr. Tun Min Latt, who has business interests in hotels, energy, and mining, is a close associate of Myanmar junta leader Min Aung Hlaing and has procured military supplies.
In August, British authorities sanctioned one of Tun Min Latt’s businesses in an “effort to limit the military’s access to arms and revenue.”
Direct Links to Myanmar Junta Government
Tun Min Latt has been photographed with the junta leader, including at an arms fair in Bangkok in 2019.
According to a 2019 UN document, Tun Min Latt is the son of a retired Myanmar lieutenant colonel, and a company he owns in part donated $71,500 to the Myanmar military in 2017.
Tun Min Latt and his companies did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment. Calls to a the Junta military spokesperson were also not returned.
Pol Col Kissana later stated that the police anti-drugs unit had asked a court to extend the suspects’ detention to gather more evidence and investigate the network.
According to him, police also seized assets worth more than 200 million baht from the four suspects.
The Junta military coup ousted the democratically elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021 and has since sought to consolidate power through a lethal crackdown on the opposition.
A source familiar with Tun Min Latt’s case, not authorized to speak to the media, said his arrest is part of a larger Thai crackdown on narcotics money laundering in the border town of Tachileik in Myanmar’s Shan state.
Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board declined to comment.