Plane hijacker to be charged in absentia

Mar 9, 2009 (DVB), Special Branch police are planning to charge San Naing, who hijacked a plane in 1989 to highlight the plight of Burmese people, at Bago Tharawaddy district court, sources close to the court said.

He currently lives overseas and so is likely to be declared a wanted man and charged, in absentia, with treason.

Following his involvement with the 1988 uprising, San Naing (also known as Ye Thiha) was involved in the hijack of a Burma Airways aircraft traveling from Mergui in southern Burma to U-tapao air base in Thailand on 6 October 1989.

The move was intended to focus world attention on the pro-democracy movement in Burma and the plight of the people of Burma.

San Naing and his associate, Yeh Yint (also known as Than Lwin), peacefully released the passengers and gave up themselves to the Thai police. San Naing was subsequently jailed in Thailand.

Following his release from prison in August 1992, San Naing was re-arrested in November 1993 when it was alleged that he was in possession of explosives which he planned to use in Burma.

He was sentenced to five years and four months in prison by Thai authorities in early 1994.

He was also involved in the formation of Vigorous Student Warriors which seized the Burmese embassy on 1 October 1999.

Eighteen family members were detained for questioning for a day by military intelligence agents, led by General Khin Nyunt.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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