Dagon Win Aung: The Importance of Being Well-Connected
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Monday, November 19, 2018
Business

Dagon Win Aung: The Importance of Being Well-Connected


By Wai Moe Monday, November 5, 2007


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From the windows of Dagon International Ltd headquarters on Prome Road in Rangoon, CEO Win Aung looks out over a country from which he has plundered a vast fortune. Known locally as “Dagon Win Aung,” he is a Burmese tycoon who has made his fortune in the timber trade, construction and import-export. His licenses were, of course, all fast-tracked and rubber stamped by the ruling generals.

In early 1990s, Win Aung co-founded Dagon International with ex-Captain Win Thein, blueprints for construction projects in Rangoon close at hand. Following the aborted coup d’etat by Captain Ohn Kyaw Myint in 1976, ex-Captain Win Thein appeared as a government witness at his trial and Ohn Kyaw Myint was subsequently hanged the following year. From that moment on, acquiring construction licenses for Win Thein and his partner, Win Aung, would be no problem.

Dagon International Ltd was quickly granted a construction license to build highways throughout Burma. According to The New Light of Myanmar, the firm managed the Rangoon-Mandalay Highway upgrading and extension project, as well as several agriculture and irrigation projects across the country.

Win Aung branched into the timber trade, raping Burma’s rainforests alongside Woodland Co. Ltd. And Htoo Trading Co, owned by fellow tycoon, Tay Za. 

Win Aung stamped his mark firmly on Rangoon in recent years when he built a modern shopping complex, The Dagon Center in the main commercial zone of the city. The Dagon Center was racked by a bomb blast on May 7, 2005, which took over a dozen lives. Although no one was ever charged for the attack, ousted general Khin Nyunt was suspected of being behind it, a move that signified a widening rift between political factions within the military.

The state-run media reported that in January 2006, Snr-Gen Than Shwe was visiting his favourite resort, Ngwe Hsaung Beach in Irrawaddy Division. He reportedly rested on the beach before returning to their accommodation, the exclusive Palm Beach Resort owned by Dagon International Ltd. The junta leader was reportedly met on arrival by beaming host, Win Aung.

Tourism may be floundering for the other hotels and resorts at Ngwe Hsaung Beach these days. But for sycophantic cronies such as Dagon Win Aung, business in Burma is just an oasis of paradise to be kept to himself and his masters, the ruling generals.

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