Myanmar junta threatens to arrest citizens over money bonds

Myanmar junta threatens to arrest citizens over money bonds

General Zaw Min Tun, Myanmar's military spokesman, attended a news conference ahead of the start of a new parliament term and the formation of a new government in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on January 26, 2021. REUTERS Thar Byaw File Photo

Nov 26, Reuters -- Myanmar's ruling military threatened on Friday to arrest citizens who invest in bonds offered by a shadow government, warning of long prison sentences for their involvement in what it calls terrorist financing.

The NUG says the proceeds from the zero-interest bonds will be used to fund its revolution against the military in response to its Feb. 1 coup and bloody suppression of protests. It hasn't said how the funds would be used.

The junta's spokesman said the NUG had been outlawed as a terrorist organisation and those who provided funding faced serious charges.

He told a regular news conference that action can be taken under terrorism charges with heavy sentences for those who are financing the terrorist groups.

If you buy money bonds, it falls under that provision. Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup, which led to strikes and protests and a severe military crackdown on activists. It also led to the formation of militias in several regions allied with the NUG, some backed by armed ethnic groups.

More than 1,200 civilians have been killed in protests and thousands have been detained since the coup, according to activists cited by the United Nations.

International pressure is intense on the junta.

The Regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations stopped junta leader Min Aung Hlaing from a summit meeting last month over his failure to cease hostilities, allow humanitarian access and start dialogue, as agreed with the group.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who spoke to the summit, rebuked the regime. The bonds went on sale to mainly Myanmar nationals overseas in denominations of $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000, with two-year tenures.

The NUG did not reveal how many people took part in the sale, which requires participants to transfer funds to an account in the Czech Republic.