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Latpadaung killing: Lawyer says police reluctant to investigate

Salingyi police have refused to accept a report filed by the younger sister of Khin Win that calls for an investigation into her alleged murder.

On Saturday Khin Mar Aung filed a police report asking police to investigate an incident on 22 December in Sagaing Division in which her sister, Khin Win, a local villager who was among 200 others demonstrating against the nearby Latpadaung copper mine, was shot dead by riot police after protestors had fired stones at them from slingshots.

The local police deputy-superintendent refused the request, saying he was not authorised to conduct such a probe, which calls for an investigation into the mining projects’ investors – specifically Hla Sein, manager of the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings, and other officials from Wanbao Myanmar Mining Copper Ltd, as well as Sagaing Division police commissioner Nay Tun and the regional border and security affairs minister, Maj. Kyi Naing.

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“Salingyi police deputy-superintendent Maj. Than Naing said it is above his pay grade to launch such an inquest and that he would have to consult with legal advisors and senior officials before offering a response,” said lawyer Thein Than Oo, a member of the victim’s family’s legal team, speaking to DVB on Sunday.

“Based on video evidence and eye-witness accounts, it is certain that Ma Khin Win was murdered,” he added.

He also said it was unfair that local police have accepted a report from Myanmar Wanbao Copper Mining Ltd accusing more than 70 local villagers of theft and trespassing but are refusing to accept the report filed by Khin Win’s family.

The Burmese government’s Information Minister Ye Htut said that the police, the Sagaing Division government and the Latpadaung Project Committee have each launched separate probes into the circumstances surrounding Khin Win’s death.

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