The Irrawaddy News Magazine [Covering Burma and Southeast Asia]

Rangoon Woman in Police Station Death Plunge
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fury has gripped Rangoon after an ethnic Shan woman fell to her death from a police station after three days of relentless interrogation by Bureau of Special Investigations officers.

Nang Wo Phan died at 5 am on March 24 after plummeting five floors from the bureau office building in Kyauktada Township in center of the former capital.

Reports claim that the 20-year-old was not allowed home at any point during the interrogation and was obviously extremely scared during her ordeal.

She was married to a Japanese man who purchased a large amount of property in Rangoon under her name. Then another man who worked at their house duped her out of some land, so she reported the matter to Hlaing Tharya Township police station.

Nang Wo Phan, originally from Mong Pahlyo Township in Shan State, asked police officers to investigate the matter but they decided to hand the case over to Bureau of Special Investigations, according to her lawyer Ei Ei Aung.

“She was taken by the police on March 21 and interrogated for the whole night and was very scared—the police left her alone in the room—and then it was on March 24 that she fell from the window,” Ei Ei Aung told Yangon Press International.

Bureau of Special Investigations officers have refused to disclose any information about the incident and even intimidated nearby office workers not to discuss what happened, prompting an angry response from the public.

“That organization is run by thugs,” said The Irrawaddy reader Zaw Min Lay. “When I was there, I saw by myself that people died while being investigated. They torture innocent people all the time. There is no limit for them to do the same thing to anyone. Criminals!”

Another reader, Nay San Thu, said: “Why do they keep it secret? This is a very sad news. Who can solve this criminal case truthfully? The president should take this case seriously if he really wants to build a democratic country.”

Nang Wo Phan's funeral was held at a cemetery Hlaing Tharya Township, on Monday. Police attended the event and even prohibited her family from talking to the media, claim journalists present at the time.

One Bureau of Special Investigations officer who spoke to The Irrawaddy on condition of anonymity said his colleagues are extremely worried that their superiors in Naypyidaw hear what occurred.

“They are worried this will cause a big problem if anyone knows what happened,” he said. “Everyone in the office has been told not to answer any questions about this incident. If this is known outside then our officers will lose their dignity and respect.”

Col Tin Win, minister for security of Rangoon Division, played down the incident when speaking to Rangoon-based journal Venus News.

“During interrogation she had a dizzy spell and started to vomit and then fell out of the window,” he said.

Ye Tun, a Member of Parliament for the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party representing Thibaw Township in Shan State, said he was going to bring up the matter in Parliament in order to force a thorough investigation of the case.

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