Burmese expat goes to police over Singapore companies’ ties to Myanmar military

A blog post by Burmese expat Swe Sin Tha superimposed over a photo of supporters of Myanmar’s political party National League for Democracy at a protest outside the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok. Photos: Swe Sin Tha/WordPress, Kan Sangtong
A blog post by Burmese expat Swe Sin Tha superimposed over a photo of supporters of Myanmar’s political party National League for Democracy at a protest outside the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok. Photos: Swe Sin Tha/WordPress, Kan Sangtong

A woman has filed a police complaint against two Singapore companies previously named and shamed by the United Nations for their links to Myanmar’s efforts to help North Korea procure weapons in violation of international sanctions.

Swe Sin Tha, a Burmese developer working in Singapore, also listed other Singaporean firms targeted for boycott for their links to Myanmar’s military regime along with the two she said played a role in violating sanctions imposed on North Korea: metalworks factory Excellence Metal Casting and freight company STE Global Trading. 

Those two firms were named in a 2018 U.N. review of North Korea’s attempts to evade sanctions to acquire nuclear and ballistic weapons. It said they were part of an extensive procurement network led by Tun Hlaing, head of Myanmar’s Directorate for Defence Industries, which is part of the Tatmadaw, or Burmese army. The directorate, it said, was helping Pyongyang “import material for military weapons programmes” to build missiles and nukes. 

Swe Sin Tha, 24, called them out in the wake of the Tatmadaw seizing power last week in a coup d’etat. 

“Being from Singapore and having tons of Singaporean friends, I can’t imagine any of them getting weapons from North Korea to the Burmese military, but that is exactly what two Singaporean companies, Excellence Metal Casting Pte. Ltd. and STE Global Trading Pte. Ltd. are accused of doing by the United Nations Security Council,” she wrote online.

Yangon clamors with protests demanding military stand down (Photos)

Swe Sin Tha said she looked up both companies on the public business registry in Singapore to find that they registered under Tun Hlaing and a Singaporean man named Lim Ching. 

“I have submitted a police report because the Singapore government has been known to prosecute people based on that and there is a Singaporean listed as a director for EXCELLENCE METAL CASTING PTE. LTD. together with Tun Hlaing, Director of the Myanmar Directorate for Defence Industries,” she wrote yesterday.

Update to my previous post about Singapore businesses supporting the Burmese military. There were 2 companies in there…

Posted by Swe Sin Tha on Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Other Singapore firms named in the list, which was recompiled from a 2020 “dirty list” by pro-democracy group Burma Campaign UK, include Grab, Coda Pay, Global Airfreight, HyalRoute, Infinity Global Solutions, Iseaco Investment, Norse Group, and Pacifica International Lines.

Neither Swe Sin Tha nor Excellence Metal Casting immediately responded to queries seeking comment. 

Swe Sin Tha’s police report has also gotten the attention of the Justice for Myanmar online page which also shared yesterday that the Burmese military had been using anti-drone guns supplied by Singapore company TRD. Coconuts has reached out to the company for comment. 

“We salute the courage of the complainant,” it said in a tweet.

The shocking Myanmar military coup unfolded on Feb 1 when State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint were arrested, leading to a widespread uproar in the country and protests, where shots have been fired to disperse protesters.

Editor’s Note: Burma Campaign UK removed Transworld Group Singapore from its “Dirty List” on Feb. 23, so we consequently removed reference to the company in this story.

Other stories you should check out:

Here’s who is standing up against Myanmar’s coup
Coup d’etat underway after Myanmar military arrests Aung San Suu Kyi, president

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CITY: SINGAPORECATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: CRIME, POLITICS

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