(Image: Myanmar border guard police officers patrol along a beach near a makeshift camp at the Myanmar-Bangladesh border. Photograph: Hein Htet/EPA)
A former Rohingya MP has been arrested in Myanmar, in a move that has been condemned as a further escalation of the attacks on the Rohingya community.
Aung Zaw Win, a major property tycoon and former MP for the Union Solidarity and Development party, was arrested at Yangon international airport on Wednesday as he was about to leave on a business trip to Bangkok.
A government statement said he has been accused of financing the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, the Rohingya military group.
Aung Zaw Win remains in custody in Mingaladon police station, near Yangon airport, but despite being held for five days has undergone no questioning.
Rohingya activist Nay San Lwin said, “the government and military [is] sending a signal to all of the Rohingya living and working in Yangon that they are also under threat, that they want to destroy the whole Rohingya community, not just those in Rakhine”.
Since August 2017, thousands of Rohingya have been killed and more than 700,000 fled to neighboring Bangladesh after a military-led campaign of violence which Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, recently said had the “hallmarks of genocide”.
Aung Zaw Win is one of the most prominent Rohingya businessmen in Myanmar, with a vast property empire which includes hotels in Yangon and Naypyidaw, as well as numerous construction companies. He was also MP for Maungdaw in Rakhine until 2015.