Coup D'Etat Attempt - 2002

   (March 2002)
   On March 7, 2002, the son-in-law of Ne Win, Aye Zaw Win, and his three grandsons, Aye Ne Win, Kyaw Ne Win, and Zwe Ne Win, were arrested on charges of plotting the overthrow of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). According to the government, they were attempting to win over the troops who guarded Ne Win's residence on the shores of Inya Lake with expensive presents and special privileges, anticipating that they could form the vanguard of a coup attempt. The plot apparently also included Ne Win's influential daughter, Sanda Win, but she was not charged, instead being placed under house arrest. Official accounts are somewhat bizarre: the plotters consulted a practitioner of astrology to ensure the coup's success; they possessed images of the three top SPDC generals, which they apparently planned to use as "voodoo dolls"; and they were hoping to establish a new dynasty, complete with a family seal modeled on those of European royalty. The four plotters were put on trial for high treason and sentenced to death in September; their December 2002 appeal was turned down, but it is likely that the death sentences will be commuted to life imprisonment.
   If this was a genuine attempted coup d'état, it was extraordinarily clumsy, and posed no real threat to the SPDC. Its relationship to SPDC internal dynamics is unclear, though a number of high-ranking military officers were purged in connection with it. Many observers believe that Aye Zaw Win and his sons, who were universally disliked, had become so greedy and lawless that some pretext was needed to get rid of them. Kyaw Ne Win had become notorious as leader of the "Scorpions," a criminal gang that terrorized Rangoon residents. Ne Win, whose reputation was sullied by the incident, passed away on December 5, 2002, marking the end of an era.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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