'Blackmailer' arrested in central Burma

A blackmailer who threatened to blow up a supermarket in Magwe if a 50 million Kyat ($US50,000) ransom demand is not paid, has been arrested on May 22, according to local residents.

Thein Kyaw, 30, a resident of Magwe division’s Taungdwingyi, allegedly blackmailed businessman Sein Htay on mobile phone. Sein Htay owns multiple businesses in Magwe including Kaung Mon Supermarket, a hospital and a drinking water business.

Thein Kyaw  allegedly told Sein Htay during the ransom call made on May 21 that he needs money to fight the government and would blow up the supermarket if he didn’t get 50 million Kyat by the evening or if the latter talked to the authorities.

Sein Htay reported it to the police and when he was called again, the police listened in on the call and followed him to the ransom point near a lake.

A source who listened to the police’s audio recording of the phone conversation said Thein Kyaw told Sein Htay to leave his house with the money by 7:30 and follow his direction.

“First, he told him to go to the Teacher Training Centre on Than Lwin Road and then to call him back. Then he instructed him to walk over to the lake, find the bike in an alley in front of the lake’s bank and then to hang the bag of money there.”

Thein Kyaw was confronted by the police as he came to collect the money but managed to escape the scene. He was arrested in Taungdwingyi the following day, said a local resident.

“[The dropping point] was completely surrounded by the police and no one had an idea how he managed to escape from them. But the police traced his mobile phone number and found him here.”

Thein Kyaw reportedly claimed that he is a member of a ‘political’ organisation with success in every bombing planned in the past, and that his agents planted three bombs in the supermarket.

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