Myanmar in ‘property heist’ after forcing former Ambassador out of UK property

The brutal regime – which has close links to Russia and China – is trying to forcibly expel Kyaw Zwar Minn from the property.

Specialist detectives who deal with national security issues have been drafted in to investigate.

The pro-democracy diplomat was locked out of the Burmese Embassy two years ago after breaking ranks with the military following the coup in the South East Asian country.

He also demanded the release of Myanmar’s deposed civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, when she was detained in the crackdown.

The diplomat, who was the nation’s ambassador to the UK since 2014 and is backed by the Foreign Office, was ousted on the orders of Myanmar’s dictator Min Aung Hlaing.

He has since barricaded himself inside the Embassy’s official residence in London, with his wife and son ever since.

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Htun Aung Kyaw, a former pilot handpicked by the junta, is understood to be the most senior official at the Embassy.

Following the coup in February 2021 Myanmar fell into almost full-scale civil war, which has killed more than 4,000 people.

Vladamir Putin has supplied the Junta with lethal weapons and fighter jets while China has helped prop up the regime.

The Foreign Office, who are hoping to broker a diplomatic resolution to the Embassy standoff, and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly have condemned the Myanmar regime for its actions.

Chris Gunness, Director of the UK-based NGO, the Myanmar Accountability Project, said: “MAP condemns what would be the junta’s most audacious property heist to date, stealing prime real estate in central London from the people of Myanmar under the noses of the British authorities.

“The army has stolen whole sectors of Myanmar’s economy for decades, such as oil and gas and rare earth, but this property theft would take the cake”.

“It is inconceivable that the UK authorities would allow this case to go to trial. The government condemned the coup, imposed sanctions, denounced the expulsion of the Ambassador from the embassy, led action against the junta in the UN Security Council and General Assembly and has supported the genocide case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice. Failure to block this ‘Hampstead heist’ would be an incomprehensible policy U-turn”.

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He added: “At a time when China’s influence in London is causing a political scandal, it beggars belief that the British Government would make any concessions at all to one of Beijing’s staunches allies, the Myanmar junta”.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “We can confirm that detectives are investigating an allegation of trespass at the Diplomatic Residence of the Myanmar Embassy in London.

“Due to the nature and location of the alleged offence, the investigation is being led by officers from Specialist Operations.

“As part of this investigation, on 15 August, officers interviewed a man in his 60s under caution. No arrests have been made at this stage and enquiries continue.”

The diplomatic standoff comes amid grave concerns about Ms Suu Kyi’s ailing health.

She is currently serving a 27-year sentence under house arrest for 19 separate criminal convictions, which her supporters insist are trumped up to keep her out of politics.

Her British son, Kim Aris, has said that she is desperately ill with bouts of dizziness and vomiting but that the military junta is refusing to allow her urgent medical treatment.

Human rights monitors have recorded 24,674 arrests since the coup by the junta, and 4,035 deaths.

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