Burma Campaign UK is calling on Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to expel the Burmese military attaché from the UK. Captain Soe Aung, representing a military responsible for genocide and child rape, lives in a multi-million pound home in South London.
The military attaché was responsible for the military takeover of the Burmese embassy in London in April, when Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn was locked out of his own embassy.
Members of the Burmese community in the UK have told Burma Campaign UK that his presence makes them concerned for their security and the security of their families in Burma. These concerns have grown since the FBI in the US uncovered a plot to assassinate the Burmese Ambassador to the UN, who has sided with Burma’s democracy movement.
“Why is a serving member of the Burmese military able to operate freely in the UK?”, asked Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Captain Soe Aung gets his orders directly from the military, and is a potential security risk to the Burmese community in the UK. There is no good reason to allow Captain Soe Aung to stay in the UK.”
The purpose of military attaches is to promote military to military contacts, and they can act as useful channels of communication. This is not the case with the Burmese military, where military to military relations were ended following the genocidal military offensive against the Rohingya in 2017. The British government does not have a military attaché in Burma.
Soe Aung, a Captain in the Burmese Navy, is currently living in a luxury home in Wimbledon, South West London, in an area where homes have an average value of around £2 million. He works from a separate house in Wimbledon in an area where average house prices are more than £7 million. The homes are owned by the government of Burma.
“It make no sense to impose visa bans on some members of the military while allowing another member of the same military to operate freely in the UK,” said Mark Farmaner. “Allowing the military to keep an attaché in the UK is sending the wrong message to the military, that we accept the military and that they are welcome in the UK. Dominic Raab needs to kick the Burmese military attaché out of the UK right away.”