Former Myanmar Times CEO Dunkley formally indicted in drugs case


Australian publisher Ross Dunkley (C-L) followed by his partner John McKenzie (C-R) leaves the court after the first appearance on his trial at Bahan township court in Yangon, 15 June 2018. Photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA-EFE

Two Myanmar nationals, a man and a woman, were released from custody in an illegal drugs case involving former Myanmar Times CEO and Editor-in-Chief Mr. Ross Dunkley and eight co-accused.

Seven accused including Mr. Ross Dunkley were produced before the Yangon West District court on July 6 at 4 p.m. for the first time and were indicted.  

Mr. Ross Dunkley’s housemaid Tin Tin Win, and watchman Tu Tu aka Saw Matthew Shale were dropped from the charge as no evidence was found against them in committing of the alleged crime and they were released.

Yangon West District Court Information Officer Htay Aung said, “With the legal advice given by Law Officer’s Office, these two people were not included in the indictment in this case as no evidence was found against them.”

Australian national Mr. Dunkley who is currently working as consultant for international media, British national and Go Media Managing Director Mr. John Stuart McKenzie, Honey Soe, Hay Mann Lwin aka Nandar, Thuzar, Win Win, Hnin Ei Khaing aka Thawdar totaling seven were officially indicted under sections 19(a)/21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law.

According to Yangon West District Court Information Officer Htay Aung, these sections carry a minimum 10 years’ imprisonment to a maximum life sentence if found guilty. The lawyers representing Mr. Ross Dunkley and Go Media MD and British national Mr. John Stuart McKenzie submitted the power of attorney to the court on Friday. It is learned that lawyers who will represent the five other accused will submit their power of attorney to court next week. Yangon West District Court fixed the next hearing on July 12.

Upon receiving tip off on the use of narcotic drugs at a house where Mr. Dunkley and Mr. Mckenzie stayed, the police raided the house at Sanyaydwin Road, Sasana Yeiktha Ward, Bahan Township on June 6 where the police reportedly seized 797 WY tablets, six grams of opium concentrate, 16.5 grams of marijuana, two grams of heroin, two grams of ground ICE and WY, five grams of white crystal believed to be a narcotic drug and 19 grams of Khet Khu.

The main accused, former Myanmar Times CEO and Chief Editor Mr. Dunkley, was arrested for assaulting a woman in 2011 and he was sentenced to one-month’s imprisonment and fine in this case.

Mr. Ross Dunkley co-founded Myanmar Times with Sonny Swe, son of the then high ranking Military Intelligence Officer Brig. Gen. Thein Swe, and he published two weekly journals Myanmar Times English and Myanmar Times Burmese. Then after Tun Commercial Bank Chairman Thein Tun bought all stakes of Myanmar Times in October 2014 he quit Myanmar media. Mr. Dunkley is also the founder of Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia.

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