Myanmar celebrity model arrested amid coup crackdown...

Dhaka, Sunday   16 May 2021

Myanmar celebrity model arrested amid coup crackdown

 International Desk

 Published: 12:04 PM, 8 April 2021   Updated: 02:30 PM, 8 April 2021

Paing Takhon. Photo: Collected

Paing Takhon. Photo: Collected

Paing Takhon, one of Myanmar's most popular celebrities has been arrested by the military as part of a growing crackdown on artists and actors. 

He had been active in both online protests and in-person rallies. The model and actor has millions of fans in Myanmar and Thailand. 

Takhon's Instagram - with more than a million followers - has been taken down along with his Facebook account.

The military seized power in a coup on 1 February, sparking weeks of protests. Around 600 civilians have been killed as forces respond to the demonstrations with increasing levels of violence.

According to a Facebook post by Takhon's sister Thi Thi Lwin, around 50 soldiers with eight military trucks came to arrest him at around 05:00 local time (22:30 GMT Wednesday) on Thursday.

A close acquaintance of his, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC he was taken from his mother's home in North Dagon, a township in Yangon. 

They said that he had been suffering from "serious depression". 

The acquaintance added that Takhon had been suffering from a physical condition, adding that he could not even "stand or walk properly", though no further details were given.

However, they said he had been "aware of the consequences" that awaited him, adding that he was "not scared at all". Both his mobile phones were taken along with him, they added.

The 24-year-old actor had previously been seen participating in several demonstrations and marches.

He had also posted images of ousted civilian leader and pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

"We strongly condemn military coup. We demand immediate release of state counseller [sic] Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint, civilian government ministers and elected members of perliment [sic]," Takhon is said to have written in an online post which has also been taken down.

"We demand to respect 2020 election results and form new civillian [sic] government soonest by NLD led perliment [sic]." 

His detention is the latest in a sweeping crackdown on celebrities in recent days.

Arrest warrants for around 100 filmmakers, actors, celebrities and journalists have been issued for speaking out against the coup.

Earlier this week security forces arrested the country's best-known comedian Zarganar.

Last week, Myanmar beauty pageant winner Han Lay, spoke out against the coup in a speech at an event held in Thailand. - BBC