Activists want police updates on probe into missing Myanmar activist

Noel Achariam

Thuzar Maung and her husband Saw Than Tin Win are believed to have been kidnapped. The couple and three children have been missing since July 4. – Human Rights Watch pic, September 18, 2023.

ACTIVISTS want the police to provide updates on the investigation into missing Myanmar activist Thuzar Maung and her family.

Myanmar Ethnics Organization representative James Bawi Thang Bik said cops should report progress on the case.

“There is CCTV footage they are leaving but it doesn’t prove that they were not abducted,” he told The Malaysian Insight. 

On Friday, Bukit Aman criminal investigation director Shuhaily Zain told news outlet Free Malaysia Today (FMT) that they have not ruled out the possibility that the activist and her family fled their home and were not abducted as suggested.

CCTV footage showed the family’s actions appeared to be “voluntary”, he said.

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

Adrian Pereira, who runs the North South Initiative, said police must ensure refugees are safe. 

He said everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. 

“So the same degree of professionalism (from the police) has to be extended to all whether they are Malaysians or foreigners.”

In July, Human Rights Watch Asia director Elaine Pearson called for 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 18, 2023.

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