The US Treasury Department, in coordination with the governments of Canada and the UK, issued additional sanctions Friday against five Myanmar individuals and five Myanmar entities for their roles in procuring weapons and equipment for the military regime.
The sanctions were leveled just days prior to Myanmar’s Armed Forces Day, March 27. On Armed Forces Day in 2021, the Myanmar military carried out violent attacks in which more than 100 people were killed. Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson noted that “Brutality and oppression have become trademarks of the Burmese military regime’s rule,” and that the Treasury Department will hold accountable those responsible for the violence and repression.
Those individuals being sanctioned include three businessmen, Naing Htut Aung and his company International Gateways Group of Company Limited, Aung Hlaing Oo and his company Myanmar Chemical & Machinery, and Sit Taing Aung. They have connections to Myanmar’s defense sector and stand accused of providing arms and equipment to the Myanmar military. Two other entities, Htoo Group of Companies and its subsidiary Asia Green Development Bank Ltd for being owned by a previously sanctioned individual, Tay Za, who was designated at the end of January.
Sanctions were also designated against the Myanmar military’s 66th Light Infantry Division, stationed in Pyay Township and believed responsible for the Christmas Eve massacre of 2021, in which civilians were captured, tortured, and killed, including reports of some being burned alive. Also sanctioned were Brigadier-General Ko Ko Oo and Major-General Zaw Hein. All assets of the named entities and individuals which are in the US are blocked.
In announcing the sanctions, Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that the military regime in Myanmar has killed more than 1,700 people since seizing power in February 2021 and detained more than 13,000. The sanctions, he said, are a response to the regime’s escalating violence and that sanctions would continue until the regime “ceases the violence and restores Burma’s path to democracy.”