Myanmar embassy in KL torched


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 08 Apr 2004

BY BEH YUEN HUI

KUALA LUMPUR: Three Myanmar refugee seekers set fire to their embassy in Jalan Ru, Ampang, after assaulting a diplomat and a guard yesterday. 

The intruders, members of the Rohingya Islamic tribe, were believed to have been upset with the embassy after their request for a document to be verified was rejected several times. 

They were said to have climbed over the perimeter fence carrying an axe, a knife and a briefcase containing more than 30 packets of petrol at 9.40am. 

Police arrested the three intruders and another Myanmar man and detained 10 of their family members to help in investigations. 

City police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mustafa Abdullah said at the scene that a security officer at the guardhouse shouted at the intruders to stop them from entering the office and confronted them at the embassy grounds. 

ABLAZE: A fireman getting ready to put out the fire at the Myanmar Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. - Picture courtesy of Nanyang Siang Pau

A scuffle ensured, during which the officer, identified only as Zao, was injured in the hand. 

“Zao then ran into the office, locked the door and contacted the police. Another security guard remained at the guardhouse,” DCP Mustafa said. 

He said that at that time ambassador U Hla Maung and seven embassy employees were in the office. 

Minutes later, minister counsellor U Khin Maung Lynn went out to negotiate with the intruders but a heated argument broke out instead. 

DCP Mustafa said the intruders then assaulted U Khin before throwing the packets of petrol and pieces of burning cloth at the office building. 

U Khin, who had facial injuries and a fractured wrist, was admitted to the Ampang Puteri Specialist Centre while Zao received outpatient treatment. 

The ambassador’s Mercedes Benz car, parked in front of the building, was also torched. 

It is learnt the intruders also walked over to the ambassador’s residence next door and broke the window of a 4WD vehicle. 

“The four men will be investigated for attempted murder, arson and trespassing. They will also be charged under the Immigration Act for not having valid documents. 

“We will also contact the Immigration Department to verify the women’s and children’s status,” DCP Mustafa added. 

He said the public had nothing to worry about as the incident was an isolated case and an internal affair of the Myanmar Embassy and its citizens. 

The embassy’s second secretary, Myint Thein Win, said the refugee seekers had gone to the embassy several times requesting it to verify a document that one of their fathers was a war veteran. 

“We asked them to translate the document from the Myanmar language into English. When they came again today (yesterday), they did not bring along the original copy of the document, so we turned down their request,” he said. 

Selangor Fire and Rescue Department operations commander Abu Bakar Katain said 54 men in six engines were sent to the embassy after receiving a distress call at 9.55am. 

He said they brought the fire under control within 20 minutes and extinguished it at 11.20am. 

This was the second incident of a foreign mission here being attacked in recent days, but the two are totally unrelated.  

On March 30, a homemade explosive device was set off in front of the Australian High Commission here.  

Internal Security Deputy Minister Datuk Noh Omar, who went to the Myanmar Embassy, said security at diplomatic zones would be beefed up. 

Noh also warned foreigners not to create problems in the country, pointing out that the authorities would not tolerate such acts. 

“If foreigners encounter problem with their embassies or high commissions, they have to settle it the right way.”  

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar has expressed regret over the incident. 

“We consider this a very serious matter and an investigation is being conducted to see what actually happened.”  

Meanwhile, the Myanmar government has ordered heightened security at its diplomatic missions.  

“Myanmar condemns the premeditated and dastardly attack against its embassy in Kuala Lumpur,” AFP quoted the ruling military junta as saying in a statement. 

“As is normal in such circumstances, security has been stepped up at Myanmar missions all over the world,” it said. There are about 30 Myanmar embassies worldwide. 

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