Rangoon residents and the dissident Burmese community are trying to find out whether Kyaing Kyaing, wife of the junta’s chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe, fled overseas for safety reasons.
Unconfirmed news reports suggested that Kyaing Kyaing and her family members left Burma on September 26, the day troops opened fire on Buddhist monks and protestors in the streets in Rangoon.
It has been suggested that they went to Dubai. But Bangkok-based newspaper The Nation earlier reported that Than Shwe’s wife had fled to Thailand.
However, a Burmese worker in Dubai who requested anonymity informed other Burmese in exile that he saw Kyaing Kyaing and her family members checked in at the most expensive hotel in Dubai and the tallest hotel in the world, the Dubai Burj Al Arab.
Tay Za, a tycoon and close associate of Than Shwe’s family, was also in the entourage at the hotel, unconfirmed reports said. He left Burma on September 27 with his daughter.
Since street protests began in Burma, Tay Za asked his staff to keep one airplane on standby at the airport in Rangoon, a local journalist said.
Tay Za is the CEO of Htoo Trading Company and owner of Air Bagan, which has five fleets of airplanes, including A-310 planes. Air Bagan began operating in 2004 and expanded its international destinations this year, connecting to Singapore and announcing plans to fly to Kunming and Seoul later this year.
But why would they flee to Dubai? And why not Singapore, the regime’s favorite destination?
Than Shwe’s family members have bought a luxury condominium in Singapore, keep savings there and often fly there to receive medical treatment. It is believed that-this time at least anyway-hiding on the island nation is too risky. Burmese residents in Singapore would easily spot the first family members could draw attention to them. The Singaporean government has also condemned the regime’s violent crackdown on Buddhist monks. Thailand is also considered an unsafe place for Burmese leaders: the junta family members see Bangkok as a â€œrisky placeâ€ as hundreds of active exiled Burmese have been living there for decades.
A journalist working for Al Jazeera, who has been following the story of Kyaing Kyaing and Tay Za, told The Irrawaddy that the hotel staff blocked him when he tried to visit Room No. 709 of the Dubai Burj Al Arab Hotel where an entourage of Burmese reportedly checked in.
â€œSecurity officials and hotel staff told me the room was vacant,â€ the journalist told The Irrawaddy. â€œI am not sure they (Than Shwe’s family) are there, but (if they were) they probably checked out.â€
The Irrawaddy yesterday called the reception of the Dubai Burj Al Arab Hotel and was told that the names of Tay Za and Kyaing Kyaing were not on the guest list.