YANGON – Myanmar media is reporting that the co-founder and former chief editor of the Yangon-based Myanmar Times newspaper, Australian National Ross Dunkley has been arrested for drug possession in Yangon.
Originally from Perth, Mr Dunkley is best known for running the Myanmar Times newspaper, helping carve out a free press under the military junta.
Several local media reports said Mr Dunkley has been arrested in Yangon, at his home office.
The Irrawaddy quoted Bahan township’s police major Thein Win saying Mr Dunkley was apprehended with 797 pills of “yaba” (usually methamphetamine and caffeine) and 303 grams of “ice” or crystal methamphetamine.
Major Thein Win told The Irrawaddy the Australian faces several charges under the Narcotics Act, that are punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.
However, the police officer rejected attempts to link the arrest to a recent huge bust in Malaysia.
Australian Ambassador to Myanmar Nicholas Coppel told The Irrawaddy, “I have no information on this at this stage.”
Dunkley established the Myanmar Times in 2000 in partnership with Sonny Swe, son of a notorious senior Myanmar military intelligence officer, Brig-Gen Thein Swe with the permission of then spy chief Khin Nyunt.
However, the entire military intelligence was disbanded by junta leader Senior-General Than Shwe in 2004 with Khin Nyunt and several senior intelligence officers being imprisoned.
Dunkley was jailed about one month in 2011 for assaulting and drugging a woman he met at a nightclub.
Myanmar Times is currently owned by Pepsi U Thein Tun and publishes both Burmese and English newspapers.
Source: Thai PBS, Irrawaddy