‘Abducted’ Myanmar activist could have left home willingly, say police

Thuzar Maung and her husband Saw Than Tin Win are believed to have been kidnapped. They have been missing since July 4. – Human Rights Watch pic, September 16, 2023.

POLICE have not ruled out the possibility that Myanmar activist Thuzar Maung and her family fled their home and were not abducted as suggested.

Bukit Aman criminal investigation director Shuhaily Zain told news outlet Free Malaysia Today (FMT) that based on CCTV footage, the family’s actions appeared to be “voluntary”.

“From what we can see on the CCTV, there’s no sign of them being kidnapped,” he said.

“They entered the car voluntarily; the kids also entered the car voluntarily, and the car was also not driven in a speedy manner,” Shuhaily was quoted as saying in the report.

He said investigations were still ongoing.

“Let it be clear that we have not closed the case. We are still investigating and replying to inquiries from concerned NGOs, so I do not want the public to get the impression that we have closed the case.”

In July, Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia director Elaine Pearson said Putrajaya should immediately prioritise a thorough and transparent investigation into the abduction of Thuzar and her family.

Pearson said that on July 4, unidentified men had kidnapped Thuzar Maung, 46, her husband, Saw Than Tin Win, 43, her daughter, Poeh Khing Maung, 16, and sons Aung Myint Maung, 21, and Thukha Maung, 17, from their residence in Ampang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, based on witness reports and CCTV footage.

She said Thuzar, also known as Thu Zar Moung, was an outspoken supporter of Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement.

“We fear that Thuzar Maung and her family were abducted in a planned operation and are at grave risk,” said Pearson in a post on the rights group’s website today.

“The Malaysian government should urgently act to locate the family and ensure their safety,” it said.

Thuzar fled Myanmar for Malaysia in 2015 to escape growing violence against Muslims. All five family members are recognised by the United Nations Refugee Agency as refugees in Malaysia.

“Foreign governments should press Malaysian authorities to quickly uncover the location of this family.

“Myanmar activists are apparently at risk even when they criticise the junta from a country where they have sought asylum,” said Pearson. – September 15, 2023

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