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Upper House MP accused of assault in ferry fracas

People wait for a ferry at a jetty in Rangoon on 16 March 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

A National League for Democracy lawmaker representing three Sagaing Division townships has been accused of assaulting a Kalewa resident after a dispute in which both men claim to have been victim to the other’s aggression.

Aung Kyaw Soe, 61, said he and his family were on a road trip when the altercation with Upper House MP Ko Ko Naing took place at a river ferry dock in Kalewa on Sunday morning.

“The [MP] had been ordering vehicles around before we arrived — instructing them on where they should or should not be parking. I first stopped in front of his car and then reversed a bit when more vehicles drove onto the ferry. The [MP] then came toward me saying, ‘What are you doing moving your car around?’ and he opened my car door and punched me,” said Aung Kyaw Soe.

“He also said he is an MP in Parliament.”

Aung Kyaw Soe said he is currently occupied by his travels with his family but plans to press assault charges against the lawmaker, who represents Sagaing Division’s constituency No. 8, when he returns home.

Ko Ko Naing, however, told DVB he was directing motorists to help free up parking space at the ferry dock when Aung Kyaw Soe pulled up and ignored his instructions.

“He decided to cut through the line and I yelled, ‘Stop.’ The driver then came out of his car and confronted me — he is pretty strong-built, a big guy, so I was concerned about my safety and took a defensive posture. Then he shoved me and I fell,” said Ko Ko Naing.

Kalewa residents close to Ko Ko Naing said the MP is usually a patient individual and not known to engage in physical altercations.

The lawmaker serves as a representative in Parliament’s upper chamber for Kalewa, Mingin and Kale townships.