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USDP MP threatens action against speculation tying him to Ko Ni killing

Lawmaker Lin Zaw Tun of the Union Solidarity and Development Party speaks to reporters at the parliamentary complex in Naypyidaw on 27 February. (Image: DVB)

Lawmaker Lin Zaw Tun, a classmate of the Defence Services Academy graduate who allegedly masterminded the plot to kill prominent National League for Democracy legal adviser Ko Ni, has threatened to sue those speculating that he was in some way involved in the high-profile assassination.

Lin Zaw Tun, a Union Solidarity and Development Party Lower House MP representing Shan State’s Mong Hpayak Township, appears in photos widely circulated on social media alongside Aung Win Khaing, an alleged co-conspirator in the murder who is still at large. Both former military officers, Aung Win Khaing and Lin Zaw Tun were classmates of the DSA’s 36th Intake.

At a press conference on Saturday, the chief of the national police force, Zaw Win, said Lin Zaw Tun and two other individuals — Zaw Zaw Soe, the Burmese consul general in Hong Kong, and Kyaw Zeyar Lin, the consulate’s counsellor — who had appeared in photos on social media alongside Aung Win Khaing were questioned by investigators. The three men were members of the same DSA intake, with the photos taken at social gatherings such golf outings and dinner parties, and during a visit by the suspect to Hong Kong, but investigators determined that there was no link between these individuals and Ko Ni’s killing.

Speaking to reporters in Naypyidaw on Monday, Lin Zaw Tun threatened to take legal action against anyone speculating that he had had a role in the assassination.

“There have been rumours going around and photos of my family were circulated on [social media] — as a citizen of Burma, I have my rights and legal protection. I am not going to tolerate it anymore. I am going to pursue legal action against those attacking the credibility of the organisations I am or was associated with,” said Lin Zaw Tun.

“I hope the truth will surface soon so that the doubts will be cleared.”

Kyi Lin, the gunman who shot Ko Ni, Aung Win Zaw, who is Aung Win Khaing’s brother, and Zeyar Phyo are in custody for their suspected roles in the assassination plot. Kyi Lin is the lone suspect who is not a former military officer.

Ko Ni, a prominent lawyer and legal adviser for the ruling NLD, was shot outside Rangoon International Airport as he returned from a state-sponsored trip to Indonesia on 29 January. Taxi driver Ne Win, a bystander who pursued Kyi Lin after he carried out the assassination and attempted to flee, was also shot dead by the gunman.