YANGON—After a trial lasting more than a year, Australian national Ross Dunkley, the co-founder of the Myanmar Times newspaper, and his compatriot John Mckenzie, a former IFC and World Bank adviser, were sentenced to 13 years in prison by a Yangon judge on Tuesday for violating Myanmar’s anti-narcotics law.
The two foreigners were apprehended in possession of a large quantity of crystal methamphetamine (or “ice”), marijuana and heroin at Dunkley’s apartment in Bahan Township in June 2018. Five young Myanmar women and Dunkley’s housekeeper and security guard were also arrested and charged at the Western District Court by Yangon police.
The Western District Court’s press officer confirmed that the two foreigners were sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment while the five women were jailed for 11 years.
The court freed Dunkley’s housekeeper and security guard in July 2018. The five women, aged between 19 and 29, were identified as Ma Hanni Soe, Ma Win Win, Ma Haymar Lwin, Ma Thuzar and Ma Hnin Ei Khine. All seven drug suspects were chargedunder sections 19(a) and 21 of the anti-narcotics law.
The Irrawaddy learned that Ma Hanni Soe was Dunkley’s girlfriend at the time of their arrests, based on posts on their Facebook accounts.
Dunkley jointly established the Myanmar Times in 2000 with U Sonny Swe, the son of a senior military intelligence (MI) officer, Brigadier-General Thein Swe, with the permission of the country’s then spy chief, General Khin Nyunt. Under the military regime, foreign investment in Myanmar was extremely difficult and enmeshed in red tape. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-times-co-founder-ross-dunkley-jailed-13-years-drugs-case.html