Than Shwe’s Grandson: Geek, Playboy or Gangster?
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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Than Shwe’s Grandson: Geek, Playboy or Gangster?

By WAI MOE Wednesday, September 23, 2009


In a country like Burma where free speech and political opinions are so muzzled, it’s no surprise people love gossip and scandal. Dozens of popular magazines and Web sites are dedicated to the fashions, flings and romances of pop stars and actresses.

But one subject is echoing around the teashops and offices of Rangoon these days—the numerous tales of Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s favorite grandson, Nay Shwe Thway Aung, nicknamed “Pho La Pyae,” and his public tantrums and shady dealings.

Nay Shwe Thway Aung—flanked by Sai Sai Kham Hlaing (left), a well-known pop star, and Chairman of the Myanmar Football Federation Zaw Zaw, whose name appears on the US sanctions list—celebrates his 16th birthday at the Sedona Hotel in Rangoon.
The junta chief’s grandson is renowned in the former capital as a spoilt brat who aspires to be a gangster and a playboy. Aged 18 and a student of Yangon [Rangoon] Technological University, Nay Shwe Thway Aung is brash, loud and outrageously snobbish. Despite his skinny build and computer geek appearance, he has nursed ambitions of being a football player and was romantically linked to two well-known Burmese models.

Several months ago, persistent but unconfirmed rumors suggested that Nay Shwe Thway Aung, an alleged drug abuser, and his friends kidnapped Wut Hmone Shwe Yee, a famous model and actress, and held her in his house for several days. 

Now, rumors are circulating that a café in Rangoon named “Seven Corners” has been closed down because of a conflict between Nay Shwe Thway Aung and its owners. It is alleged that Than Shwe’s grandson and his friends smashed up the café, then he ordered a military officer to close down the business.

Speculation as to whether Nay Shwe Thway Aung’s outburst was due to a business conflict or a personal dispute has deepened because the owners of the Seven Corners Café turn out to be Capt Naing Lin Oo, who is the son of Junta Secretary 1 Gen Tin Aung Myint Oo; and Aung Soe Tha, the son of Minister of National Planning and Economic Development Soe Tha.

During the alleged assault in the café, Nay Shwe Thway Aung is alleged to have shouted at the owners: “It’s a disgrace that sons of government ministers are doing business in a state-owned building,” referring to the café’s location within university grounds.

The remark may have been made in haste or in sarcastic jest; for it is well-known to Rangoon residents that, a few months ago, Nay Shwe Thway Aung bought a plot within the compound of the University of Yangon on Inya Road, which he is presently converting into a discotheque.

According to local bloggers, Than Shwe’s grandchild’s wrath was allegedly exacerbated when Tin Aung Myint Oo refused to grant an import license to an import-export company that he is involved with.

The first of two main questions currently being asked around the teashops in the city is: “Does this grievance between Than Shwe’s grandson and the sons of two leading regime ministers represent a deeper divide within the junta hierarchy?”

It is no secret that almost every family member of Burma’s ruling generals is awarded lucrative business concessions. For example, one of Than Shwe’s sons, Tun Naing Shwe, is the director of J-Donuts, the Burmese version of US franchise Dunkin’ Donuts.

“Conflicts within the families of the ruling generals have been going on for years,” said a source close to the military elite circle. “Now, the senior-general’s grandson is in the middle of it.”

“The children of the Burmese generals are raised to believe they are VIPs,” a journalist in Rangoon said. “They consider themselves to be ‘lions,’ in that they do not want to share their cave with anyone else.”

According to sources in Rangoon, a gang of unruly teenagers calling themselves “sin zway” (“Elephant Tusk”) has recently formed in the city. Than Shwe’s grandson is alleged to be involved in the gang.

When people in Burma gossip about Than Shwe’s grandson, they are invariable drawn to comparisons with the notorious grandsons of  late dictator Ne Win—Kyaw Ne Win and Zwe Ne Win—who reportedly founded an armed gang they called “Scorpion” that was allegedly involved in crime, murder, violence, drugs and other mafia-style activities during the 1990s and early 2000s.

In a famous incident, Scorpion gang members on motorbikes pulled up to junta No 2 Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye in a main street in Rangoon, and made gunfire gestures with their hands.

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Perth Man Wrote:
Like grandfather, like grandson...

khwe sote Wrote:
You are writing all this just to increase the anger of the people, which will not work.

lee pal Wrote:
What goes around, comes around. I just hope it is not too late for Burma to rid the junta by itself.

LuuSoeLay Wrote:
I don't care about who sleeps with whom: this is not my business or interest. All I care about is who is going to be the next hero who will take Than Shwe's chair away.

KKK Wrote:
Here we go again. Does The Irrawaddy have nothing to write at all? Who cares whether these dogs fight? Let them fight until they die. We would like to read more meaningful articles than this one.

tocaharian Wrote:
That Shan-tayoke Sai Sai Knham Hlaing even let his girlfreind sleep with Nay Shwe Thway Aung. High society in Burma behaves in ways that are contrary to Myanmar Ahlin's editorials about Burmese morality and Buddhism.

It's so fake that it hurts. True Buddhism has nothing to do with Than Shwe's superstitious beliefs and also the way his grandson is behaving (In Burma and Singapore) They are total hypocrites!

Burma is just becoming a Chinese colony! Burma doesn't exist anymore for me. I am sad!

Yangontha Wrote:
Burmese Military History has been repeating itself since 1962 as there is nothing new about the behaviour of the Generals' children and their grand children, for they all have the same blood. The only difference is that one is worse than another.

Moe Aung Wrote:
It's the battle of the snouts in the trough. Hopefully the cracks will open up. Let's drive a few wedges through.

The rank and file, who never get to reap the rewards of military rule but instead get exploited to the hilt and abused by the senior officers and their families, are most likely to be disgusted by these antics.

Aung Aung Wrote:
Correction: the coffee shop is not in the university compound. It is on a plot of land belonging to the Ministry of Culture, near Kokang bus stop.7. Lekker is the name. It is near the Chanmye monastery and motor vehicle police station. The news is true. The shop was grand but it has now been demolished by army quake conducted not by soldiers, but by uniformed terrorists.

timothy Wrote:
Oh yes. History has already been repeating itself because only uneducated fools bring offspring up in their likeness. How much bad karma have Than Shwe and cronies ( low-lying ghosts) got by this time? Everyone knows that Ne Win is in the lowest level of hell, suffering for 550 lives according to our religious belief. What goes around comes around is the living testimony for families of Than Shwe.

Nathaniel Wrote:
Pho La Pyae is a notorious lad spoilt by his grandparents and aunts who themselves are corrupted. What about Than Shwe's daughter who went to the furniture fair and took out furniture to her liking without paying. Well, the owner had to keep quiet due to being afraid that his busines would be closed by the authorities. This is BURMA, who cares, as long as that crazy maniac Than Shwe is in power? Can the other Generals voice their comments? No. Never mind having to fear Than Shwe, they now have to fear the grandson. Just imagine the dumbheaded Military Officer taking orders from a young drug addict and closing down the business owned by the son of Secretary 1. Well Tin Aung Myint Oo, Shwe Mann, Thein Sein, what are you all going to do? Are you just going to keep your mouths shu? What about Khin Yee? Is he going to keep turning a blind eye? Now it is clear that there is no law in Burma. The paper the word of law is written upon is worth no more than toilet paper. Less, in fact. Toilet paper at least has a purpose.

Ngal Hriang Wrote:
Under the lawless generals, no one can expect the rule of law. The rule of criminals will produce more crimes and more criminals. This is what Than Shwe is best at doing.

San Aye - Yangonthar Wrote:
News about Than Shwe's grandson, Pho La Pyae is not news to the people of Burma. The entire Than Shwe's family should be sent to the gallows. What is Shwe Mann going to do now? Where are his words:"no one is above the law.?" What are the Local Township Police doing, why aren't they taking action? According to law they can take action on him, regardless of whether he is Than Shwe's grandson or not. If he was a son of a NLD representative, it would be in the Daily news headlines. Well Kyaw Hsan, what about putting this story on the 'New Light Of Myanmar.' Other writers with different pen names should write an article on this and send it to 'Myanmar Ah Lin' or 'Kyemon.' What about Khin Yee? Why hasn't the head of the Police Department taken action. The day will come when Than Shwe's entire family will have to follow the way that Nikolai Ceausescu and his entire family took. It is the peoples money that Than Shwe's family squanders.

Greenland Wrote:
History always repeat itself. There is a time for everything, a time for coming and a time for going.

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