Businessman linked to Kokang rebel leader dies in custody


A prominent ethnic Chinese businessman with family ties to the leader of the Kokang rebel group fighting government troops in northern Myanmar’s Shan state has died while in custody of local authorities, prompting speculation he was tortured to death, reports Radio Free Asia on March 9.

The Yangon-based businessman Li Guoquan, 60, was said to have been secretly arrested by Myanmar’s military intelligence agency on February 23, sources in the city told RFA’s Mandarin Service on the condition of anonymity. It is unclear why he had been taken into custody.

Li died after being admitted to the Yangon Military Hospital on March 5 He was buried by his family at a nearby cemetery a day later, the sources said.

The cause of death is unclear, though one news service claims to have seen the autopsy which indicated his death was caused by “internal injuries” and “serious damage to internal organs.”

Sources said Li’s death may have been linked to his ties to ethnic Chinese brother-in-law Peng Deren, the military commander in charge of operations for the rebel Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, which is fighting to retake the Kokang self-administered zone of Shan state it had controlled until 2009.

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