A Singaporean maker of weapons that can take down drones says it sold them to Myanmar to protect its people after coming under fire over photos of them in use by Burmese security forces.
Beset with a PR crisis after its weapons were seen in use by Myanmar police at a recent protest, anti-drone gun supplier TRD has been attempting to persuade the public that its equipment is benign. The company has been defending itself on social media since Tuesday as well as saying it wishes the best for Myanmar.
In one comment, TRD said that it began supplying equipment to Myanmar in 2017, when it was under a civilian government.
“Hi, you might want to know the equipment was used in [M]yanmar since 2017. It was meant to protect the people and it was used in event like protecting VVIP like Daw Aung Sam Kyi, Pope visit and also protect Shwedagon pagoda well before current event,” it said.
The same message appeared verbatim under other posts. It also noted that police in Malaysia and Singapore have used its anti-drone guns to “protect” people and an airport, respectively.
“It is unfortunate to see what [M]yanmar is going through and we all pray for [M]yanmar to return to peace and prosperity,” the company wrote.
It’s one of a number of Singaporean firms those opposed to Myanmar’s coup have accused of siding with the military regime through material support or silence.
A photo of riot police officers armed with TRD’s Orion 7 anti-drone gun was posted by The Justice for Myanmar online page on Feb 10.
Who’s arming the Myanmar police? This anti-drone gun is from TRD #Singapore. According to data on Linkedin, TRD has an office in Singapore + #Myanmar. Biz like TRD are empowering the Myanmar military regime’s repression of the #CivilDisobedienceMovement. #HearTheVoiceOfMyanmar pic.twitter.com/DJvLvqckoj
— Justice For Myanmar (@JusticeMyanmar) February 10, 2021
TRD did not respond to messages seeking comment until after this story was published. In a subsequent interview, Managing Director Sam Ong said that it primarily sells security to law enforcement agencies “strictly to counter against illegal drones intruding into areas that are dangerous.”
“These disruptors have no effect on human[s], and it has been certified safe against human by international health standards,” Ong said.
He said that although its sales have all been within the law, it would suspend the sale to Myanmar’s police and military “until a lawful society is re-established.”
“We will not sell to Myanmar Military, given the flow of events,” he added.
It was unclear when Justice Myanmar’s photo of its drone gun in use was taken. The group accuses TRD of cultivating ties with military generals there and “empowering the Myanmar military regime’s repression.”
TRD was founded in 2011 and has been providing anti-drone products and services to takedown drones in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
Famous Singapore brands Tiger Beer, Ya Kun Kaya Toast, Beauty in the Pot, Crystal Jade, BreadTalk, and Ramen Ippudo became targets of a boycott campaign starting Tuesday, just after Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told parliament that Singapore should not weigh in on Myanmar “politics” and continue to focus on conducting business there.
BreadTalk and Ramen Ippudo declined to comment for this story; other brands have not responded.
Massive daily protests have broken out in the streets throughout Myanmar after the military seized power on Feb. 1. A protestor who was shot by the police died from her injuries today, the first known fatality since the unrest began.
Update: This story was updated with comments from TRD’s managing director and information about the photo.
Other stories you should check out:
Singapore brands face Myanmar boycott for ‘supporting the dictatorship’
Don’t let coup get in way of making money in Myanmar: top Singapore diplomat
Burmese expat goes to police over Singapore companies’ ties to Myanmar military