Burma's Fallen First Family
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Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Burma's Fallen First Family

By WAI MOE Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The fate of the family of Ne Win, the dictator who ruled Burma with an iron fist for more than a quarter of a century, is testament to the dog-eat-dog nature of military rule in this impoverished Southeast Asian country.

Since 2002, four members of the family—Ne Win's son-in-law Aye Zaw Win and his grandsons Aye Ne Win, Kyaw Ne Win and Zwe Ne Win—have been held in Rangoon's notorious Insein Prison for plotting to overthrow the current regime.

Sandar Win stands next to her father, former Burmese dictator Ne Win, at a party celebrating his 90th birthday. (Photo: AP)
Although they face the death penalty after being found guilty of committing treason, prison sources say that they continue to enjoy privileges that few other inmates would ever dream of receiving, including occasional permission to leave the prison. 

“Officials have allowed U Ne Win’s relatives to bring their own TVs and DVD players into the prison, as well as other communication devices. Therefore a prison official was sacked at the time,” said a prison officer at Insein Prison.

“However, they have influence even over U Zaw Win, the director-general of the Corrections Department, since they are from the former No.1 family. Other low-ranking officials at the prison are like their tools,” he added.

When Win Tin, a prominent opposition leader, was in prison, he was detained at the Special Cellblock compound in Insein Prison where Ne Win’s family members are also held. At the time, the veteran journalist had some conversation with the former first family members.

Win Tin, who was released from prison in September 2009, once told The Irrawaddy that Aye Ne Win, who studied in the UK, said he wanted to see pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Min Ko Naing, a prominent leader of the 88 Generation Students group, released from detention.

The Special Cellblock, which is for top political dissidents and imprisoned seniors officials, consists of 10 cells and five small houses. It was directly overseen by the Military Intelligence (MI), but the Special Branch of the police now directs it after the MI was abolished in 2004. The Special Cellblock has a separate kitchen and provides daily state-run-newspapers to prisoners.

When Ne Win’s son-in-law and grandsons were arrested in February 2002, Ne Win spent his last days under house arrest with his favorite daughter, Sandar Win, until he died in December of the same year.

Although Ne Win was the founder of Burma's first military dictatorship, his funeral passed quietly, with only Sandar Win and his former colleague, Brig-Gen Aung Gyi, allowed to attend.

After Ne Win passed away, Sandar Win remained under house arrest at their home next to Rangoon's Inya Lake. Since her release in December 2008, she has kept a low profile to avoid trouble with the ruling generals.

“She regularly visits her beloved husband and sons in Insein Prison. Sometimes she hangs out at the Railway Hotel, where Rangoon elites and international NGO staff gather. But she seems quite depressed,” said a businessman in Rangoon who close to the family.

“The fate of U Ne Win’s family is a lesson for all, but particularly for the current people in power,” he added. 

Recent information leaked from prison officials is that restrictions on Ne Win’s imprisoned relatives have been eased. There have even been reports that they have occasionally been given permission to go outside of the prison.

However, this kind of special favor by prison authorities is not reserved only for the former first family, but also for other privileged prisoners, including well-known businessmen.

One of them is Maung Waik, a tycoon who is imprisoned for drug charges. He was arrested for allegedly providing drugs to Nay Shwe Thaway Aung, the grandson of the junta supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe.

“Maung Waik is not like prisoner serving a jail term on drug charges. He is more like a VIP guest at Insein Prison,” said the prison officer. “He mostly stays at a prison guesthouse which is outside Insein Prison. He can still use his mobile phones, doing his business as usual.”

Irrawaddy reporter Lin Thant contributed to this story.

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Thar-du Wrote:
What goes around comes around. Ne Win's children are reaping what he sowed. Than Shwe's children will reap the same thing as he is now sowing weeds in his whole lifetime.

Oo Maung gyi Wrote:
Who is Myanmar Pateriots? How he knows about General New Win? The in formation he given in his writing all wrong. General Ne Win is a historical figure in Buirma due to his participation in 30 comrade ( Yebaw-thon-kyeik ). I do not agree with General Ne Win Deed, but Myanmar Patriots must provide realty, not wrong information. General New Win was never be a Law student in Rangoon University. He is under graduate, then joined politics during British time in Burma, also a member of Doe-bama-asiayone.
His misdeed for the country and the peoples of Burma was a crime, that's every body knows it. How about Sr.General RThan Shwe? Is he a good person? I want to ask Mr. Myanmar Patriots. Please give coment.

Oo Maung gyi Wrote:
Myanmar Pateriots does not know about General New ( Shu Maung ) a son of Burmese mother and a Chinese father, and never study law nor he was a graduate. General Ne Win studied at Rangoon University during British time, created history due to he was a Thiry Comrade ( member of 30 peoples, those went to Japan along with General Aung San for military training, later they formed Burma Army )I want to ask Irrawaddy that who is Myanmar Patriots? What is his background, Is he a spy of Junta?

Myanmar Patriots Wrote:
yebaw Wrote:

"It is not new for us. We have had a good example, Myawaddy Mingyi U Sa was sent to Meza when he was sacked from his position. Now U Than Shwe is following all steps laid by U Ne Win to grab the power. Consequently, he will follow the same step as Ne Win did at the end of his life." STUPID BULL****!
yOU SIMPLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND.Future historians will be more than kind to Regent Herzog Sen.Gen ThanShwe.Fargaung ShuM<aung was arch enemy of our king HM King Schwebomin II as a young teenager, who would love to hav epumped bullets in shuMaung's head.You all know nothing.
Sen.Gen ThanShwe is noble. Our King is honorary German. His family by adoption is that of a German Baron. HM is integrated in European nobility. We recognise German spelling Schwebo rahter than Shwebo.
The world is beginnig to realise conspiracy against our king and Burma, Myanmar Kingdom.


tocharian Wrote:
As an appendix to the Ne Win (a.k.a. Shu Maung) saga, I recommend the novel "Irrawaddy Tango" by Wendy Law-Yone, daughter of U Law-Yone who was the half Chinese editor of "The Nation". I'm not sure how "autobiographical" the novel was, but the "Generalissimo" in the book definitely was Ne Win.

PB Publico Wrote:
Timothy's comment makes me wonder about the current First Family (and those of his cronies).

How will they survive the cruel legacy of their father (and cronie fathers) after the father(s) are gone?

Sorry to make a statement like that. But if not for anything else, it is for them to look ahead, think and make amends NOW.

Sorry to say also that they have already made a sorry state of affairs in our history circa 1988-1911. Like it or not, history can be quite cruel to those whose forefathers have done enormous wrongs towards humanity.

timothy Wrote:
Ne Win`s family will become social outcasts not able to survive meaningfully in any societies in Burma. They will not have decent opportunities to carry out living because anywhere they appear, there will be, and always be the people who hate the family`s murderous Ne Win. His family is finished. I am sorry for their kids. Sorry. Burmese will never forgive Ne Win for his crime against humanity. His family has to suffer the peoples` angers.

Moe Wrote:
Dictators come and go like a disease. It is not about them, it's about people. If people are smart and work hard, there wouldn't be room for dictators.

Terry Evans Wrote:
Sandar Win played a major role in the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement during 8888.She is yet to answer for these crimes.

yebaw Wrote:
It is not new for us. We have had a good example, Myawaddy Mingyi U Sa was sent to Meza when he was sacked from his position. Now U Than Shwe is following all steps laid by U Ne Win to grab the power. Consequently, he will follow the same step as Ne Win did at the end of his life.

Myanmar Patriots Wrote:
Our intelligence reports:
1.AyeShuMaung(don't ever call him Ne Win!)studied at School of Oriental & African Studies(SOAS), that received monies from Gaddafi.AyeShuMaung first tried to study law;failed because you is not intelligent enough. So American ELIZABETH MOORE helpd him to continue studying, Art History;we don't know if he completed his BA.
2.By chance, a Latvian girl, married to a senior executive of Casio, met our king HM King Schwebomin II (as Crown Prince Schwebomin)in London more than 15 years ago.She told HM about Aye (as he was called by fellow students;how smartly he dressed and how rich he was.Our King explained to latvian girl it was all from the proceeds from looting Burmese people by his grandfather Fargaung ShuMaung. The girl took the Crown Prince to her big house to spend the night.Husband away on business.

Mualcin Wrote:
Nay Shwe Thway Aung needs to take overdose that his grandpa will also have heart-attack and die. Khun Sa still has plenty of drugs for him.

CBSLAY Myint Wrote:
The most privilege prisoner in Burma was Aung San Su Kyi. She comes from the first family also. This is the way it is in Burma.

The rich gets richer. The family members of military leaders enjoy special treatments including Su Kyi whose father Aung San was the national hero and leader of Burma in the past.

kerry Wrote:
What more to say? Who behaves like this in the 21st century? China?

Must be getting pretty uncomfortable and embarrassing at international gatherings, to look so ridiculously archaic! Even China, with pretty newsreaders, suits and smiles, handshakes galore, are known for Laogia, corruption, organ harvesting and brutality in suppression of all free thought and speech.

Seems the 21st Century has arrived for some. Others are on another planet. A ridiculous and brutal and very very stupid-looking one. Sad and insufferable for the good people of Burma.

Moe Aung Wrote:
All men are created equal but some are more equal than others.

M.Haji Wrote:
Former president of United States Richard Nixon, under the scrutiny of Watergate scandal once said,'there is one thing solid and fundamental in politics; the law of change, whats up today down tomorrow'. Dictators around the world are facing the same fate and sooner rather than later dictators of Burma will be the next.

PB Publico Wrote:
The father and daughter look quite happy, probably enjoying stories being told by the old man about how he and his men have ruined Burma and her people, assuming themselves as aliens.

The current chief and his family may look similar to this picture if some photographer can get into their private quarters.

Denys Goldthorpe Wrote:
Than Shwe will never relinquish power, he will make sure his family will not end up the same way as Thitsaphout Ne Win, both Ne Win and Thitsaphout Than Shwe are both traitors to their country. The only sad part about Ne Win his dead and I won’t be able to see him executed for crimes against humanity, Than Shwe on the other hand I would like to see him dangling on the end of a rope, and see members of his family suffer like the Burmese people have had to suffer under Thitsaphout Than Shwe’s illegal rule.

Myint Myat Twe Wrote:
“The fate of U Ne Win’s family is a lesson for all, but particularly for the current people in power,”

But all know the current regime take lessons not to happen like Ne Win's family, so they built more power to protect themselves, we need more unity to uproot them. 

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