Yettaw 'friend' being questioned by police

Aug 7, 2009 (DVB), Burma's police chief has said a girl who traveled into Burma with John Yettaw in 2008 and tried to stop him from visiting Aung San Suu Kyi's compound is now being questioned by police.

The incident in May in which Yettaw swam to Suu Kyi's compound was the second time he had done so, the first being in November 2008.

Following the latest incident, a photograph emerged of Yettaw standing alongside a previously unknown Burmese girl.

The picture was taken in the Thai border town of Mae Sot whilst Yettaw was visiting the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPP) in 2008, likely shortly before he first traveled into Burma.

Speaking at a press conference today in Rangoon, Burma police chief Khin Yi said that the girl was found in the Burma border town of Myawaddy, across from Mae Sot, and that she was now being questioned but was not under detention.

According to a source who was at the press conference, Khin Yi said she had travelled into Burma with Yettaw in November 2008 and had tried to stop him from entering Suu Kyi's compound.

It was this incident that triggered the current court case, in which Suu Kyi faces a possible five year sentence for allegedly harbouring a foreigner.

Recently, 23 security officials charged with guarding Suu Kyi's compound were variously demoted and imprisoned for failing to stop Yettaw from entering, said Khin Yi.

He also said that Yettaw, who is currently in hospital following a fit of seizures earlier this week, fell ill because he refused to eat. He added that authorities have spent 600,000 kyat ($US600) for his hospital bills.

The press conference was attended by foreign diplomats, non-governmental workers and foreign and domestic journalists.

The police chief also touched upon an alleged foiled bomb plot during the visit of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in early July.

According to Khin Yi, authorities arrested a bomb plotter named Htay Aung on 2 July, a day before Ban Ki Moon arrived in Burma. He was allegedly trained outside of Burma by a group called the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors.

Suu Kyi, along with her two caretakers and Yettaw, is due to hear the verdict in her case on Monday, although Yettaw's health condition could delay it further.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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