US prosecutors say they have charged two Myanmar nationals have been arrested on charges of plotting to seriously injure or kill the country’s ambassador to the United Nations on U.S. soil. The pair, Phyo Hein Htut, and Ye Hein Zaw, were living in New York when they set the scheme in motion last month with the help of an arms dealer based in Thailand, according to their criminal complaints.
In an alleged conspiracy foiled by US investigators, the pair spoke of hiring assailants to force Kyaw Moe Tun to resign or, if he refused, to kill him, officials said on Friday. The plot was framed as part of an effort to force him to step down from his post, federal prosecutors said. If Tun refused to leave his position, prosecutors alleged, the arms dealer proposed that the attackers hired by Htut would kill him. Htut was caught on a recorded telephone line telling Zaw that the planned attackers needed an additional $1,000 to carry out the attack in Westchester County, where the ambassador lives. The dealer sells weapons to the Burmese military, which overthrew Myanmar’s civilian government earlier this year, according to the complaints. Jacqueline Maguire, the acting assistant director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, said law enforcement acted “quickly and diligently” after learning last month of the potential assassination that was planned in Westchester County, a suburban area north of New York City. “Our laws apply to everyone in our country, and these men will now face the consequences of allegedly breaking those laws,” she said.