Thursday, 30 October 2008

Than Shwe’s Daughter Goes Shopping for Gold

The Irrawaddy News

A BBC radio report that a daughter of Burmese junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe went shopping for gold worth more than US $80,000 is a hot topic of discussion these days at teashop tables in Mandalay.

The London-based BBC’s Burmese service reported that an unnamed daughter of Than Shwe visited the Aung Tharmarde gold shop on Mandalay’s 22nd Street and bought gold worth 100 million kyat ($80,645).

“People were shocked to hear about the extravagance,” said a Mandalay gold dealer. “I’d like to ask her where the money came from when most Burmese people are poor and some are starving.”

The report reignited anger over the extravagance of the marriage in July 2006 of one of Than Shwe’s daughters, Thandar, who draped herself in the precious metal when she married Maj Zaw Phyo Win. The bridal pair were showered with expensive gifts estimated to have cost the equivalent of $50 million.

One Rangoon gold dealer suggested that Than Shwe’s family wanted to invest in the precious metal at a time when the price of bullion had dropped.